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Simple Present

The simple present (also called present simple or present indefinite) is a verb tense which is used to show repetition, habit or generalization. Less commonly, the simple present can be used to talk about scheduled actions in the near future and, in some cases, actions happening now. Read on for detailed descriptions, examples, and simple present exercises.

Simple Present Forms

The simple present is just the base form of the verb. Questions are made with do and negative forms are made with do not.

In the third person singular, -s or -es is added. Questions are made with does and negative forms are made with does not.

Complete List of Simple Present Forms

Simple Present Uses

USE 1 Repeated Actions

simple present repeated action

Use the simple present to express the idea that an action is repeated or usual. The action can be a habit, a hobby, a daily event, a scheduled event or something that often happens. It can also be something a person often forgets or usually does not do.

Examples:

  • I play tennis.
  • She does not play tennis.
  • Does he play tennis?
  • The train leaves every morning at 8 AM.
  • The train does not leave at 9 AM.
  • When does the train usually leave?
  • She always forgets her purse.
  • He never forgets his wallet.
  • Every twelve months, the Earth circles the Sun.
  • Does the Sun circle the Earth?

USE 2 Facts or Generalizations

simple present generalization

The simple present can also indicate the speaker believes that a fact was true before, is true now, and will be true in the future. It is not important if the speaker is correct about the fact. It is also used to make generalizations about people or things.

Examples:

  • Cats like milk.
  • Birds do not like milk.
  • Do pigs like milk?
  • California is in America.
  • California is not in the United Kingdom.
  • Windows are made of glass.
  • Windows are not made of wood.
  • New York is a small city. It is not important that this fact is untrue.

USE 3 Scheduled Events in the Near Future

simple present near future

Speakers occasionally use simple present to talk about scheduled events in the near future. This is most commonly done when talking about public transportation, but it can be used with other scheduled events as well.

Examples:

  • The train leaves tonight at 6 PM.
  • The bus does not arrive at 11 AM, it arrives at 11 PM.
  • When do we board the plane?
  • The party starts at 8 o'clock.
  • When does class begin tomorrow?

USE 4 Now (Non-Continuous Verbs)

non-continuous now

Speakers sometimes use the simple present to express the idea that an action is happening or is not happening now. This can only be done with non-continuous verbs and certain mixed verbs.

Examples:

  • I am here now.
  • She is not here now.
  • He needs help right now.
  • He does not need help now.
  • He has his passport in his hand.
  • Do you have your passport with you?

Simple Present Tips

ADVERB PLACEMENT

The examples below show the placement for grammar adverbs such as: always, only, never, ever, still, just, etc.

Examples:

  • You only speak English.
  • Do you only speak English?

ACTIVE / PASSIVE

Examples:

  • Once a week, Tom cleans the car. Active
  • Once a week, the car is cleaned by Tom. Passive

More About Active / Passive Forms

Simple Present Exercises

Verb Tense Exercise 1 Simple Present and Present Continuous
Verb Tense Exercise 2 Simple Present and Present Continuous
Verb Tense Exercise 16 Present and Past Tenses with Non-Continuous Verbs
Verb Tense Exercise 17 Present and Past Tense Review
Verb Tense Exercise 21 Simple Present and Simple Future
Verb Tense Exercise 22 Simple Present and Simple Future
Verb Tense Exercise 24 Simple Present, Simple Future, Present Continuous, and Future Continuous
Verb Tense Practice Test Cumulative Verb Tense Review
Verb Tense Final Test Cumulative Verb Tense Review
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