Simple Present Tense

Complete Grammar Guide: Definition, Examples, Forms, Uses, Vocabulary and Exercises.

The simple present tense is also known as present simple or present indefinite. It is one of the five most used tenses in the English language. This article provides a complete guide on simple present tense under the following topics.

Definition

Examples of simple present tense

Uses of simple present tense

How to form/structure simple present tense

Useful contractions

Useful vocabulary

Simple present tense exercise.

Definition of Simple Present Tense

The simple present tense is a verb tense that we primarily use to describe actions/events that happen regularly at present. 

The simple present has the basic form of subject + present form of verb + rest of the sentence

Examples

She sings a song.

They sing a song.

Simple Present Tense Examples

  1. Amy goes to the library.
  2. Adam speaks English like a native.
  3. She does not answer the phone.
  4. She cooks better than her mother.
  5. Tim is in the kitchen.
  6. Lucy never keeps the front door open.
  7. Sarah always plays with her doll.
  8. He likes helping weak students.
  9. Sara has a lot of dresses in her wardrobe.
  10. Does your dog bite?
  11. We see him playing cricket every afternoon.
  12. Do those birds fly so far?
  13. Sam walks two miles a day.
  14. He says that he can run faster than Usain Bolt.
  15. Erik is the smartest boy in the class.

For more examples, see 30 examples for simple present tense.

Uses of Simple Present Tense

There are different uses of the simple present tense. Those include expressing habits, general truths, recurrent truths, etc. This section will describe them in detail.

  1. Describes regular actions/events. 

Examples

Kate bites her nails.

Tom plays guitar.

  1. Describes general/permanent truths and facts.

Examples

China produces the highest amount of plastic in the world. (General truth)

Water boils at 100 Celsius. (General truth)

She lives in London. (Permanent truth)

He is in room no. 05. (Fact)

The glass is half full. (Fact)

  1. Describes habits, routines.

Examples

He eats two eggs a day. 

She applies a moisturizer every morning. 

I get up at six every morning.

They visit their aunt on weekends.

  1. Describes recurrent truths.

 Examples

The sun rises from the East and sets in the West.

The earth moves in an ellipse around the sun.

  1. Futurate. 

We use futurate to refer to future time using a non-future-tense (usually present tense). Futurate describes actions/events in the future. When we describe future events using the present tense, it is called present futurate. Present futurate is very common in explaining things that happen on a fixed schedule.

Examples

The latest movie starring David Oswald premieres next week.

The inaugural meeting commences on Tuesday, the 16th of July.

The shop closes at 5.00 pm.

Frank drops me off after the party tonight.

The flight lands sharply at 2.00 am tomorrow.

  1. Used to make complex sentences using subordinate clauses.

Sometimes sentences in the future tense are constructed using subordinate clauses built with conjunctions like when, if, as, as soon as, until, after, before, etc. These conjunctions are followed by a simple present verb phrase.

Examples

     I will tell you all my secrets when I meet you. (Subordinate clause: when I meet you)

     If you pass the exam with the highest grades, I will gift you a car.

     She will not play basketball under 18 as she turns 18 next week.

     We will start making the cake as soon as she brings the butter.

     I will wait until your mother comes here.

     I will clean the room after I finish my homework.

     The teacher will introduce you to the topic before he starts the lesson.

  1. Used in descriptions and instructions, including manuals, captions, recipes, and stage dramas.

Examples

     Place blade C in the mill jar to grind dry spices. (Instruction manuals)

     Queen Elizabeth arrives at Westminster Abbey. (Captions of photographs)

     Remove from heat once the sauce gets a thick consistency. (Recipes/instructions)

     He stabs himself – Othello, William Shakespeare (Stage plays/directions)

  1. News headlines, narrative tense novels, summaries, proverbs, and quotes. 

Examples

  • News headlines:

India celebrates 73 years of independence.

  • Summary of a story:       

Robin gets the news of the arrival of the carriage. He teams up with his friends and hides in the jungle. When the soldiers arrive with the carriage, Robin ambushes and robs the money. Finally, he delivers the money to poor people. 

  • Proverb:       

Actions speak louder than words. 

  • Narrative tense:       

When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold. (Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins)

Some examples of simple present narrative novels are Divergent by Veronica Roth, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, and The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.

  • Quotes:

 “Cowards die many times before their death” (Quote from Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare)

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving” (Albert Einstein)

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started” (Mark Twain)

How to Form the Simple Present Tense?

The basic formula of the simple present tense is called the affirmative form or the positive form.

  • First-person/second-person singular/second-person plural/third-person plural: base form of the verb

Examples

I play cricket

You play cricket

We play cricket

  • Third person singular: base form of the verb + s/es

Examples

She plays cricket.

He plays cricket.

It plays cricket.

John plays cricket

Including this basic structure, we can use simple present tense in 5 basic forms as follows.

  1. Affirmative form or positive form
  2. Negative form
  3. Interrogative form
  4. Negative interrogative form
  5. Passive form

  1. Affirmative form
  • To be form:

subject + to be verb (for present tenses: is/am/are)

Examples

 Dorin is a doctor.

 I am a hard-working person.

They are kind people.

  • To have form:

subject + to have verb (for present tenses: has/have)

Examples

I have some books in my bag.

They have a large house.

She has a nice car.

Note: In simple present tense, the verbs has and have mean to own or possess something.

  • First-person/second-person singular/second-person plural/third-person plural:

subject + base form of the verb + rest of the sentence

Examples

 I like ice cream.

You like ice cream.

We like ice cream.

  • Third person singular: subject + base form of the verb + s/es + rest of the sentence

Examples

She likes ice cream.

He likes ice cream.

It likes ice cream.

Judy likes ice cream.

  1. Negative form
  • Subject + To be (is/am/are) + not + rest of the sentence

Examples

        Dorin is not a doctor.

        I am not a hard-working person.

        They are not kind people.

  • Subject + does/do not + have + rest of the sentence

Examples

I do not have books in my bag.

They do not have a large house.

She does not have a nice car.

  • First-person/second-person singular/second-person plural/third-person plural:

subject + do not + base form of the verb + rest of the sentence

Examples

I do not like ice cream.

You do not like ice cream.

We do not like ice cream.

  • Third person singular:

subject + does not + base form of the verb + rest of the sentence

Examples

She does not like ice cream.

He does not like ice cream.

It does not like ice cream.

Judy does not like ice cream.

  1. Interrogative form (Question form)

Under interrogative, or question form, we discuss three main types of questions.

  • Close ended questions
  • Tag questions
  • Wh questions

Close-ended questions

Close-ended questions are the questions that get yes or no as answers.

  • To be (is/am/are) + subject + rest of the question

Examples

Is Dorin a doctor?

Am I a hard-working person?

Are they kind people?

  • First-person/second-person singular/second-person plural/third-person plural:

Do + subject + base form of the verb + rest of the question

Examples

Do I like ice cream?

Do you like ice cream?

Do we like ice cream?

  • Third person singular:

Does + subject + base form of the verb + rest of the question

Examples

Does she like ice cream?

Does he like ice cream?

Does it like ice cream?

Does Judy like ice cream?

Tag questions (Negative statement + Positive tag)

  • To be form:

[subject + negative to be verb (for present tenses: is/am/are) + rest of the sentence] + [to be verb + subject]?

Examples

 Dorin is not a doctor. Is she?

 I am not a hard-working person. Am I? (Am I not?)

They are not kind people. Are they?

  • First-person/second-person singular/second-person plural/third-person plural:

[subject + do not/don’t + base form of the verb + rest of the sentence] + [do + subject]?

Examples

I don’t like ice cream. Do I?

You don’t like ice cream. Do you?

We do not like ice cream. Do we?

  • Third person singular:

[subject + does not/doesn’t + base form of the verb + s/es + rest of the sentence] + [does + subject]

Examples

She doesn’t like ice cream. Does she?

He doesn’t like ice cream. Does he?

It doesn’t like ice cream. Does it?

Judy doesn’t like ice cream. Does she?

Wh-questions

Examples

Who represents the college at the summit?

Why don’t they answer the phone?

When does the flight arrive?

What does the question ask?

To whom does she teach?

How does she clean the house?

Whose vehicle does she drive?

4. Negative interrogative

Close-ended questions

  • To be (is/am/are) + subject + not + rest of the question

Examples

Isn’t Dorin a doctor?

Am I not a hard-working person?

Aren’t they kind people?

  • First-person/second-person singular/second-person plural/third-person plural:

Do not/don’t + subject + base form of the verb + rest of the question

Examples

Don’t I like ice cream?

Don’t you like ice cream?

Don’t we like ice cream?

  • Third person singular:

Does not/Doesn’t + subject + base form of the verb + rest of the question

Examples

Doesn’t she like ice cream?

Doesn’t he like ice cream?

Doesn’t it like ice cream?

Doesn’t Judy like ice cream?

Negative Tag questions (Positive statement + Negative tag)

  • To be form:

[subject + to be verb (for present tenses: is/am/are) + rest of the sentence] + [negative to be verb + subject]

Examples

Dorin is a doctor. Isn’t she?

I am a hard-working person. Aren’t I? (Am I not?)

They are kind people. Aren’t they?

  • First-person/second-person singular/second-person plural/third-person plural:

[subject + base form of the verb + rest of the sentence] + [don’t + subject]?

Examples

I like ice cream. Don’t I?

You like ice cream. Don’t you?

We like ice cream. Don’t we?

  • Third person singular:

[subject + base form of the verb + s/es + rest of the sentence] + [doesn’t + subject]

Examples

She likes ice cream. Doesn’t she?

He likes ice cream. Doesn’t he?

It likes ice cream. Doesn’t it?

Judy likes ice cream. Doesn’t she?

  1. Passive form

Subject + is/are/am + past participle + rest of the sentence

Simple present active voice: The strange events confuse her.

Simple present passive voice: She is confused by the strange events.

 Simple present active voice: The poachers hunt the animals.

 Simple present passive voice: The animals are hunted by the poachers.

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Useful Contractions

Contractions are short forms of two words. In a contraction, two words are gathered into one word using an apostrophe.

Following are the contractions used in the present continuous tense.

Following are the contractions used in simple present tense.

is not = isn’t

are not = aren’t

I am not = I’m not

Am not/are not/is not = ain’t (informal speech)

Does not = Doesn’t

Do not = Don’t

he/she/it is = he’s/she’s/it’s

You are/we are/they are = you’re/we’re/they’re

You are not /we are not/they are not = you’re not/we’re not/they’re not, or you aren’t/we aren’t/they aren’t

Useful Vocabulary

To be verbs: is, are, am

To have verbs: has, have

Frequency adverbs: rarely, never, sometimes, seldom, often, usually, normally monthly, weekly, yearly, every day

Time expressions: nowadays, these days, now, at present