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The Present Simple Tense

(also called the simple present tense)
Simple present tense with 'be'
The verb 'be' is different from the other verbs in this tense. Let's look at 'be' first: Here's the positive form
(positive means a normal sentence, not a negative or a question. This is sometimes called 'affirmative')
Positive Positive Short Form
I am I'm
you are you're
he is he's
she is she's
it is it's
we are we're
they are they're
Next, here's the negative. It's very easy. You only add 'not'.
Negative Negative short form
I am not I'm not
you are not you aren't
he is not he isn't
she is not she isn't
it is not it isn't
we are not we aren't
they are not they aren't

And finally let's talk about the question form of the present simple with 'be'.
Firstly, here's the 'yes / no' question form:
Yes / No Questions
am I ?
are you ?
is he ?
is she ?
is it ?
are we ?
are they ?
If you'd like to make a 'wh' question, you just put the question word at the front:
Wh Questions
where am I ?
what are you ?
why is he ?
who is she ?
when are we ?
how are they ?
Present simple tense with other verbs
With all other verbs, we make the present simple in the same way. The positive is really easy. It's just the verb
with an extra 's' if the subject is 'he', 'she', or 'it'. Let's take the verb 'play' as an example:
Positive (of 'play')
I play
you play
he plays
she plays


it plays
we play
they play
 Don't forget the 's'! Even really advanced students do this!
 For a few verbs, there is a spelling change before the 's'. For example, 'study'becomes 'studies'. Click
here for a list of these verbs
.
 There are also few verbs which are irregular in the present simple:
1. 'have' becomes 'has'
2. 'do' becomes 'does'
3. 'go' becomes 'goes’

To make the negative form, you need to use 'do not' (don't) or ' does not' (doesn't).
Negative (of 'play')
I do not play I don't play
you do not play you don't play
he does not play he doesn't play
she does not play she doesn't play
it does not play it doesn't play
we do not play we don't play
they do not play they don't play


How about the question form of the present simple tense?
We use 'do' or 'does' before the subject to make the 'yes / no' question:
Yes / No questions
do I play ?
do you play ?
does he play ?
does she play ?
does it play ?
do we play ?
do they play ?
Just like with 'be', if you'd like to make a 'wh' question, you just put the question word at the front:
Wh Questions
where do I play ?

what do you play ?

why does he play ?

who does she play ?

when do we play ?

how do they play ?



When Should I Use The Present Simple
Tense?
1: First, we use the Present Simple when something is generally true:
 The sun rises in the east.
 People need food.
 It snows in winter.
 The sky isn't green.
 Plants die without water.
 Two and two make four.
2: We also need to use this tense for a situation that we think is more or less permanent (see
the present continuous for a temporary situation - one which we think won't last long):
 Where do you live?
 She works in a bank.
 They love coffee.
 She has three children.
 I am married.
 I don't like mushrooms.
3: The next use is for habits or things that we do regularly. We often use adverbs of frequency in
this case (also see the present continuous for new, temporary or annoying habits):
 Do you smoke?
 I play tennis every Tuesday.
 We often go to the cinema.
 She gets up at seven o'clock every day.
 At the weekend, we usually go to the market.
 How often do you study English?
 I don't travel very often.
4: Four, we use the simple present to talk about what happens in books, plays, or films:
 The hero dies at the end of the film.
 A young woman travels through Europe, where she meets different people, and
finally falls in love.
 In this book, an army invades Britain.
 The main character is very pretty and works in a bookshop.
5: We use it in the first and the zero conditionals:
 If it rains, I won't come.
 If you heat water to 100 degrees, it boils.
6: Strangely, we can use this tense to talk about the future. When you are discussing a timetable or a
fixed plan, you can use this tense. Usually, the timetable is fixed by an organisation, not by us:
 School begins at nine tomorrow.


 Our train leaves at eleven.
 What time does the film start?
 The plane doesn't arrive at seven, it arrives at seven thirty.
 When does the class finish?
7: We also use it to talk about the future after words like ' 'when', 'until', 'after', 'before' and 'as soon as'
in a future sentence:
 I will call you when I have time. (Not: 'will have')
 I won't go out until it stops raining.
 She'll come as soon as her babysitter arrives.
 I'm going to make dinner after I watch the news.
 I'll give you the book before you go.
8: We need to use this simple tense with stative verbs (verbs which we don't use in continuous
tenses), in situations where we'd usually use the present continuous:
 This soup tastes great.
 You look fabulous.
 I think she is very pretty.
 I am cold.
 I promise I will help you.
How to make the Present Continuous Tense
(also called the Present Progressive Tense)

The present continuous (sometimes called the present progressive) tense in English is really easy to make and
is the same for all verbs. We make it using the present simple of 'be' + verb-ing:
Here is how we make the positive:
Positive Positive Short Form
I am sleeping I'm sleeping
you are sleeping you're sleeping
We can make the negative by adding 'not':
Negative Negative Short Form
I am not sleeping I'm not sleeping

you are not playing you aren't playing

he is not reading he isn't reading


Questions are also really, really easy. Just like we made the question with 'be' in thepresent simple,
here we also put 'am', 'is', or 'are' before the subject to make a 'yes / no' question:
Yes / No Questions
am I eating chocolate ?
are you studying now ?


is he working ?
For 'wh' questions, just put the question word at the front:
Wh Questions
Why am I eating chocolate ?
What are you studying now ?



First, we use it for things that are happening at the moment of speaking.
I'm working at the moment. Please call back as– we are eating dinner now. Julie is sleeping. You are
studying the present continuous.
2: We can also use this tense for temporary situations, when we feel something won't
continue for a long time.
She's staying with her friend for a week. I'm living in London for a few months. John's working in a
bar until he finds a job in his field. I'm reading a really great book.

Compare this with the present simple , which is used for permanent situations that we feel will
continue for a long time.
3: We can use the present continuous for habits but they have to be temporary or new
habits (for normal habits that continue for a long time, we use the present simple).
 He's eating a lot these days.
 She's swimming every morning (she didn't use to do this).
 You're smoking too much.
 They're working late every night.
4: Another present continuous use is for annoying habits, when we want to show that
something happens too often and we don't like it. In this case we usually use an adverb like
'always', 'forever' or 'constantly'.
 You're always losing your keys!
 She's constantly missing the train.
 He's always sleeping in.
 They're forever being late.
5: The next use is for definite future arrangements (with a future time word). In this case
we have already made a plan and we are pretty sure that the event will happen in the future.


 I'm meeting my father tomorrow.
 We're going to the beach at the weekend.
 I'm leaving at three.
 They're coming to the party at the weekend.
6: Finally we use this tense to talk about a situation which is slowly changing.
 I'm getting better at playing the piano.
 The weather is improving.
We can't use the this tense (or any other continuous tense) with stative verbs.
Some English verbs, which we call state, non-continuous or stative verbs, aren't used in continuous
tenses (like the present continuous, or the future continuous). These verbs often describe states
that last for some time. Here is a list of some common ones:
Stative (or State) Verb List
like know belong
love realise fit

hate suppose contain

want mean consist

need understand seem

prefer believe depend

agree remember matter

mind recognise see

own appear look (=seem)

sound taste smell

hear astonish deny

disagree please impress

satisfy promise surprise

doubt
think (=have an
opinion)
feel (=have an
opinion)

wish imagine concern

dislike be have

deserve involve include

lack
measure (=have
length etc)
possess

owe weigh (=have weight)


A verb which isn't stative is called a dynamic verb, and is usually an action.
Some verbs can be both stative and dynamic:
Be
be is usually a stative verb, but when it is used in the continuous it means 'behaving' or 'acting'


 you are stupid = it's part of your personality
 you are being stupid = only now, not usually
Think
 think (stative) = have an opinion
I think that coffee is great
 think (dynamic) = consider, have in my head
what are you thinking about? I'm thinking about my next holiday
Have
 have (stative) = own
I have a car
 have (dynamic) = part of an expression
I'm having a party / a picnic / a bath / a good time / a break
See
 see (stative) = see with your eyes / understand
I see what you mean
I see her now, she's just coming along the road
 see (dynamic) = meet / have a relationship with
I've been seeing my boyfriend for three years
I'm seeing Robert tomorrow
Taste
 taste (stative) = has a certain taste
This soup tastes great
The coffee tastes really bitter
 taste (dynamic) = the action of tasting
The chef is tasting the soup

('taste' is the same as other similar verbs such as 'smell')