(See also Verbs -‘Regular verbs in the simple present’)
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.)
- 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.
- He wants. Does he want? He does not want.
Verbs ending in -y : the third person changes the -y to -ies:
- fly –> flies, cry –> cries
Exception: if there is a vowel before the –y:
- play –> plays, pray –> prays
Add -es to verbs ending in:-ss, -x, -sh, -ch:
- 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 think||Do I think ?||I do not think.|
|You think||Do you think?||You don’t think.|
|he, she, it thinks||Does he, she, it think?||He, she, it doesn’t think.|
|we think||Do we think?||We don’t think.|
|you think||Do you think?||You don’t think.|