(See also Verbs -‘Regular verbs in the simple present’)

Simple Present 1

The simple present is used:

To express habits, general truths, repeated actions or unchanging situations, emotions and wishes:

  • I smoke (habit);
  • I work in London (unchanging situation);
  • London is a large city (general truth)

To give instructions or directions:

  • You walk for two hundred metres, then you turn left.

To express fixed arrangements, present or future:

  • Your exam starts at 09.00

To express future time, after some conjunctions: after, when, before, as soon as, until:

  • He’ll give it to you when you come next Saturday.

BE CAREFUL! It can be confusing!
The simple present is not used to express actions happening now. (See Present Continuous.)


For habits

  • He drinks tea at breakfast.
  • She only eats fish.
  • They watch television regularly.

For repeated actions or events

  • We catch the bus every morning.
  • It rains every afternoon in the hot season.
  • They drive to Monaco every summer.

For general truths

  • Water freezes at zero degrees.
  • The Earth revolves around the Sun.
  • Her mother is Peruvian.

For instructions or 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.

For fixed arrangements

  • His mother arrives tomorrow.
  • Our holiday starts on the 26th March

With future constructions

  • She’ll see you before she leaves.
  • We’ll give it to her when she arrives.

Simple present, third person singular


He, she, it: in the third person singular the verb always ends in -s:
he wants, she needs, he gives, she thinks.

Negative and question forms use DOES (=the third person of the auxiliary ‘DO’) the infinitive of the verb.

  1. He wantsDoes he want? He does not want.

Verbs ending in -y : the third person changes the -y to -ies:

  1. fly –> flies, cry –> cries

Exception: if there is a vowel before the –y:

  1. play –> plays, pray –> prays

Add -es to verbs ending in:-ss, -x, -sh, -ch:

  1. he passes, she catches, he fixes, it pushes


 1. Third person singular with s or -es

  • He goes to school every morning.
  • She understands English.
  • It mixes the sand and the water.
  • He tries very hard.
  • She enjoys playing the piano.

2. Simple present, form

Example: to think, present simple

I thinkDo I think ?I do not think.
You thinkDo you think?You don’t think.
he, she, it thinksDoes he, she, it think?He, she, it doesn’t think.
we thinkDo we think?We don’t think.
you thinkDo you think?You don’t think.