Generally speaking, the simple present in English is used to describe an action that is regular, true, or normal. We use the present simple tense for:
- For repeated and regular actions in the present time period.
- Ahmed never comes late to class.
- The train to Rabat leaves every two hours.
- I usually take breakfast at seven in the morning.
2. For facts.
- A cat has four legs.
- The president of the USA travels in the Air Force One.
- I like chocolate.
3. For things that are always/generally true.
- They speak French at work.
- The Queen of England lives in Buckingham Palace.
- We swelter a lot in summer.
Verb Conjugation & Spelling
This tense is conjugated in English because all terminations are the same except he/she/it (third-person singular) which add an “s”.
We form the present tense using the base form of the infinitive (without the infinitive marker “to”). In general, we add “s” in the third person.
- I drink water.
- You drink water.
- He drinks water.
- She drinks water.
- It drinks water.
- We drink water.
- You drink water.
- They drink water.
The spelling for the verb in the third person differs depending on the ending of that verb:
- For verbs that end in -o, -ch, -sh, -ss, -x, -z, we add -es in third person.
- go – goes
- catch – catches
- wash – washes
- kiss – kisses
- fix – fixes
- buzz – buzzes
2. For the verbs that end in a consonant + y, we remove the y and add -ies.
- marry – marries
- study – studies
- carry – carries
- worry – worries
NOTE: For the verbs that end in a vowel + y, we just add -s.
- play – plays
- enjoy – enjoys
- say – says
Present Simple Usage: SUMMARY
We use the present tense:
A. When we talk about things that happen habitually or repeatedly: I get up at 6 o’clock every morning.
B. With adverbs of frequency such as always, usually, often, sometimes, seldom, rarely, never, on Fridays, every day, etc: she usually sleeps late on Sunday morning.
C. When we talk about premanent or long-lasting situations: Salma lives in Marrakech.
D. When we talk about people and things in general: soccer is a very popular sport in Morocco.
E. To indicate general truths, facts, and scientific laws: the sun rises in the east.
F. When we talk about travel plans and schedules (mainly with verbs such as go, leave, arrive, start, come, return, etc.); the course starts next Friday. You can only do this for actions that are scheduled. It is not necessary to use the simple present for scheduled events; the future is also acceptable: my class will start tomorrow at 9 o’clock.
G. With stative verbs such as like, dislike, love, think, need, want, hate, remember, forget, know, feel, understand, prefer, believe, mean, taste, hear, see, own, belong, have (when the meaning is “possess”).
H. To give directions or instructions: walk down the street to the corner and turn left.
I. When discussing literature: when writing papers, the use of the present simple is commonplace to tell the story of a work of fiction, even if the work of fiction is written in the past.
Present Simple Quiz
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