Present form: Present Simple Tense
Many resources call this the “present simple” or “simple present”, and provide a wide range of situations when it should be used. Instead of memorizing these uses, think of these sentences as simple with nothing added: they refer to things in general that are certain. Then, think about how this idea fits the wide range of uses of this very basic structure.
Here, we’ll look at the present form of verbs, what it means, and how people often use it.
Or start with our practice exercises.
The simplest way to use verbs is to use them in the present form.
|present form||past form||ing form||en form|
We talk about things that are generally true.
Things that are generally true are true in the present-future.
They may be true in the past too.
We use the present form to talk about things that happen many times.
We use the present form to talk about things that are generally permanent.
I eat breakfast.
I live in England.
|We||eat||at work.||We eat at work.|
|She||works||on Wednesdays.||She works on Wednesdays.|
|They||live||in Sweden.||They live in Sweden.|
|You||like||swimming.||You like swimming.|
We talk about things that are always true. These are facts.
Water boils at 100°C.
Cows don’t eat rabbits.
Is Mt Everest the tallest mountain in the world?
We talk about things that are true now. These are descriptions. We describe things in the present.
This tastes delicious!
He doesn’t have a hat.
Are you hungry?
Things may be generally true because they are fixed, and can’t be changed or controlled. These are scheduled events. We often add a future time to make this clear.
The meeting starts at 4PM.
I don’t work this Sunday.
When does the bus leave?
We talk about quick actions or events that finish as the speaker is speaking. We say what happens as it happens. We talk about these actions and events when giving commentary and telling stories.
(James is watching soccer on TV) Commentator: He shoots… He scores!
Amy wakes up and goes downstairs. She opens the door…
Stories are in the past or in our imaginations, so we usually use the past form. However, storytellers sometimes use the present form to bring the story into the present for dramatic effect.
We use the present form for things that are generally true in the present or future.
1. Complete the sentences
2. Complete the question and answer