The Present Simple tense describes things that are true, actions that happen many times, and simple statements of fact.
- I live in London.
- I work in a bank.
- I go to work every day.
- I play football on Sundays.
How to form Present Simple
To make Present Simple, we use the base (infinitive) form of the verb without ‘to’:
- To live → I live in London.
- To work → I work in a bank.
- To go → I go to work every day.
- To play → I play football on Sundays.
With ‘he‘, ‘she‘, ‘it‘, add ‘-s‘ to the verb:
- I drink coffee.
- She drinks tea.
- It tastes good.
Spelling rules for adding ‘-s’
There are some rules to remember when adding the ‘-s’ ending to verbs.
1. If the verb ends in -o, -ch, -sh, -ss or -x, add ‘-es‘.
- I go to work. She goes to college.
- I teach English. He teaches French.
- I wash my face. She washes her hands.
- I kiss her. She kisses me back.
- I mix the drinks. She relaxes on the couch.
2. If the verb ends in a consonant (b, c, d, etc.) + –y, drop the –y and add ‘-ies‘:
- To carry → She carries a bag.
- To study → He studies history.
- To fly → An airplane flies.
3. In Present Simple with ‘he/she/it’ the verb ‘have‘ has the form ‘has‘:
- I have a pen and he has a pencil.
- She has a book and she reads it.
4. In Present Simple, the verb ‘be‘ has the forms ‘am‘ for ‘I‘, ‘is‘ for ‘he/she/it‘ and ‘are‘ for ‘we/you/they‘:
- I am a senior sister.
- She is a student.
- We are doctors.
When to use Present Simple
We use Present Simple when we want to talk about fixed habits or routines, repeated actions or unchanging situations, emotions and wishes, likes and dislikes.
Present Simple is used to express:
1) general truths and scientific facts (something that is always true)
- Water boils at 100 °C.
- The human body contains 206 bones.
2) something that happens regularly in the present (habits and routines)
- Kate goes to dance club on Sundays.
- I play football every weekend.
3) something that is true in the present (unchanging situations and permanent states)
- Paris is the capital of France.
- I‘m a student.
- He lives in London.
4) fixed arrangements or timetable events
- Your exam starts at 09.00.
- This train leaves at 6.30 a.m.
5) instructions and directions
- Open the packet and pour the contents into hot water.
- You take the No.6 bus to Watney and then the No.10 to Bedford.
6) something in the future after time words like ‘when’, ‘after’ and ‘before’ and after ‘if’ and ‘unless’:
- I’ll talk to John when I see him.
- You must finish your work before you go home.
Let’s summarize the usages of Present Simple:
Expressions of time
Present Simple is often used with words like usually, sometimes, often, seldom, never or when talking about specific time (at 10.30, every Sunday, in winter, etc.):
- I usually have lunch in a small cafe around the corner, but on Sundays we go to a restaurant.
- I sometimes go to the cinema.
- She never plays football.
Here’s a good video from Oxford Online English explaining how to use Present Simple correctly: