In English, there are 2 present tenses:
- The present simple
- The present continuous
They are very different in both their form and also their use and meaning.
In this grammar lesson, we will look in detail at the present simple.
he works / she works / it works
Only the third person singular changes (he / she / it) by adding a letter “s”
I do not work
you do not work
he does not work/ she does not work / it does not work
we do not work
you do not work
they do not work
Again, only the third person singular (he / she / it) is different (does not)
Do I work?
Do you work?
Does he work? / Does she work? / Does it work?
Do we work?
Do you work?
Do they work?
For the question form, don’t forget the question mark (?) at the end of the sentence.
Rules for the third person singular spelling
Remember, that the affirmative form is the subject + base form except for the third person singular.
Here are the rules for the third person singular form of different types of verb:
For most regular verbs, we add –s to the base form:
work -> works
sit -> sits
stay -> stays
For Verbs ending in -s, -z, -ch, -sh or -x, we add –es to the base:
miss -> misses
watch -> watches
push -> pushes
For Verbs ending in consonant + y, we change y to i and add -es
cry -> cries
hurry -> hurries
reply -> replies
Exceptions and irregular verbs:
have -> has
go -> goes
do -> does
The uses and meaning of the present simple
Facts or permanent situations
We use the present simple to describe facts or things that always happen. We are talking in general.
Cows eat grass.
(We are talking in general. We are not describing a specific cow.)
Water freezes at 0°C
Question: Where does Peter work?
(This is a general question, so we use the present simple and NOT the present continuous)
If the question is in the present simple, then our answer must also be in the present simple:
Answer: Peter works in an office.
(We are stating a general fact. We are NOT describing specifically where Peter is now.)
Things that happen regularly, repeatedly or all the time
I play football every week.
I am playing football every week.
Do you go to church every Sunday?
Are you going to church every Sunday?
Verbs which do NOT have a continuous form
Some verbs only have a simple form. They do not have a continuous form.
They are often verbs where there is no real action:
-hate, like, love, need, prefer, want, wish.
-believe, imagine, know, mean, realise, recognise, remember, suppose, understand.
-belong, concern, consist, contain, depend, involve, matter, need, owe, own, possess.
-appear, resemble, seem.
This chocolate cake is nice. I am wanting another piece please.
This chocolate cake is nice. I want another piece please.
Below is a video lesson about the present simple with more examples and exercises.
All our English lessons on YouTube