Present Simple‏‎ in English Grammar

The Present Simple is usually one of the very first verb forms‏‎ to be taught in English‏‎.

We use it mainly to talk about situations which are always the same or at least consistent for a long time. This includes habits, facts and so on.

My name is Joe and I am from Ohio.

The Earth goes round the Sun.

I believe in Father Christmas.

And so on.


To make the present simple we simply use the bare infinitive form of the verb (the infinitive without to). Remember, however, to add a final -s with the third person‏‎:

{subject} + {bare infinitive}

I live in Scotland.

He plays football at the weekend.

They go out every night.

Full Usage of the Present Simple

We use the present simple in several main ways:

habits & routines & long term situations

These may change in the future, but they are pretty well solid now and we don’t expect them to change for some time.

I go to the cinema at least once a week.

We always wake up before 8 o’clock in the morning.

Is she married?

permanent situations & facts

These are true now and will (nearly) always be true (unless further research disproves them).

Venus and Mercury are closer to the Sun than the Earth.

Metal does not float in water.

Do all mammals breathe oxygen?

We can also include here strongly held beliefs which cannot always be proven.

There is a god.

All politicians are crooks.

giving instructions

You walk out the door and then you turn left.

You don’t do it like this, you do it like that!

Note: we more often use the imperative in this situation.

talking about a future timetabled arrangement

She leaves tomorrow.

It starts next Thursday.

Note: We often use this with an adverb of time.

to tell a dramatic story, a joke or give a commentary

A man is in a hospital bed. The doctor walks in and says, “There’s some good news and some bad news.”

“Give me the bad news,” says the man.

“We’ve had to cut off both your legs,” says the doctor.

The man screams a bit and gets upset but after a while the doctor calms him down.

“What’s the good news?” he asks the doctor.

“The man in the next bed wants to buy your shoes.”

Useful Links
Verb Tenses‏‎ & Forms in English Grammar – an overview of all the verb forms in English

The Present Tense in English Grammar – a look at all the present verb forms in English

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Posted in Parts of Speech.

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