You can use the simple present to talk about present states (e.g. "I am old") and acts (e.g. "I read a book").
Describing routines, regular events or facts, feelings or states
always, never, often, seldom, rarely, sometimes, usually, normally, regularly, etc. every day, every week, every month, …
I walk, she walks, they take, he takes
I don’t walk, she doesn’t walk, they don’t take, he doesn’t take
Do I walk? Does she walk? Do they take? Does he take?
Present: Present Progressive
Describing things that happen at the moment of speech or things that happen exceptionally; talking about a plan that happens in the near future
am/are/is (simple present form of to be) + Infinitive + ing
at the moment, right now, just, now, at present, currently, Look!
I am walking, she is walking, they are taking, he is taking
I am not walking, she isn't walking, they aren't taking, he isn't taking
Am I walking? Is she walking? Are they taking? Is he taking?
Past: Simple Past
Talking about things that happened in the past and are completed or over at the moment of speech
yesterday, the other day, in 2009, when, at that time two days ago, a week ago, a month ago, … last night, last week, last month, …
I walked, she walked, they took, he took
I didn't walk, she didn't walk, they didn't take, he didn't take
Did I walk? Did she walk? Did they take? Did he take?
Past: Past Progressive
Describing actions or things that were in progress in the past, even if something else suddenly interrupted this progress
was/were (simple past form of to be) + Infinitive + ing
I was walking, she was walking, they were taking, he was taking
I wasn't walking, she wasn't walking, they weren't taking, he wasn't taking
Was I walking? Was she walking? Were they taking? Was he taking?
Past: Present Perfect Simple
Emphasising the result of something, talking about things that happened at an unknown time in the past, describing things that happened in the past and are not yet completed or over at the moment of speech
have/has (simple present form of to have) + past participle
since, for, already, yet, before, ever, never, still not, so far, just, up to now, recently, until now
I have walked, she has walked, they have taken, he has taken
I haven't walked, she hasn't walked, they haven't taken, he hasn't taken
Have I walked? Has she walked? Have they taken? Has he taken?
Past: Present Perfect Progressive
Emphasising the duration of something, describing things that started happening in the past and are still going on at the moment of speech and/or influence the present
have/has (simple present form of to have) + been + Infinitive + ing
for, since, how long, all day, all day long, the whole day/week/month/year
I have been walking, she has been walking, they have been taking, he has been taking
I haven't been walking, she hasn't been walking, they haven't been taking, he hasn't been taking
Have I been walking? Has she been walking? Have they been taking? Has he been taking?
Past: Past Perfect Simple
Emphasising that something in the past stopped or was over when something else began, describing the fact that something happened before a certain time
had (simple past form of to have) + past participle
already, until that day, never, just
I had walked, she had walked, they had taken, he had taken
I hadn't walked, she hadn't walked, they hadn't taken, he hadn't taken
Had I walked? Had she walked? Had they taken? Had he taken?
Past: Past Perfect Progressive
Emphasising the progress or duration of something, describing things that happened in the past and stopped or were over at a certain time later in the past
had (simple past form of to have) + been + Infinitive + ing
for, since, how long, all day, after, before
I had been walking, she had been walking, they had been taking, he had been taking
I hadn't been walking, she hadn't been walking, they hadn't been taking, he hadn't been taking
Had I been walking? Had she been walking? Had they been taking? Had he been taking?
Describing things that will certainly happen in the future, talking about expectations, hopes or assumptions, spontaneous decisions
will + Infinitive
tomorrow, next week/month/year, in 2021, expect, believe, hope, suppose, think, probably
I will walk, she will walk, they will take, he will take
I won't walk, she won't walk, they won't take, he won't take
Will I walk? Will she walk? Will they take? Will he take?
Describing plans and aims in the future, implications, talking about things that will happen in the near future
am/are/is (simple present form of to be) + going to + Infinitive
tomorrow, next week/month/year, in 2011
I am going to walk, she is going to walk, they are going to take, he is going to take
I am not going to walk, she isn't going to walk, they aren't going to take, he isn't going to take
Am I going to walk? Is she going to walk? Are they going to take? Is he going to take?
Future: Future Progressive
Describing things that will be in progress in the future, talking about things that usually happen in the future
will + be + Infinitive + ing
tomorrow, next week/month/year, in 2041
I will be walking, she will be walking, they will be taking, he will be taking
I won't be walking, she won't be walking, they won't be taking, he won't be taking
Will I be walking? Will she be walking? Will they be taking? Will he be taking?
Future: Future Perfect
Talking about things that will be completed or over at a certain time in the future
will + have + past participle
until, before by the end of the day, by the end of the week, by the end of the month, …
I will have walked, she will have walked, they will have taken, he will have taken
I won't have walked, she won't have walked, they won't have taken, he won't have taken
Will I have walked? Will she have walked? Will they have taken? Will he have taken?
The simple present tense
The simple present tense is one of the basic tenses in the English language. It is the first tense you learn before all other tenses. It is very important to know how to build it.
- With I, you, we, they, verbs in the simple present tense don't have any special ending. You simply use the infinitive form of the verb: I want.., You need.., We go.., They like...
- With he, she, it you need to add -s to the verb: he wants, she needs, he likes, he eats, she meets, it works.
Read the simple present forms of the verb to have. There is an exception to the rule above:
- I have
- You have
- He, she, it has
- We have
- You have
- They have
As you see, you don't just add s to the verb have! You must use the form has with he, she, it.
Note: the verb to have indicates possession: I have a car. She has a dog. They have a new house. You can also use the verb have got to indicate possession: I have got a car. She has got a dog. They have got a new house.
Have or has? Fill in the gaps with the correct form of the verb to have in the simple present tense.
To negate a sentence in the simple present tense, we use "don't" or "doesn't".
Use "don't" with I, you, we, they + infinitive form of the main verb to negate a statement:
- I don't like parties.
- You don't listen to me.
- We don't have a car.
- They don't have any money.
- I don't want any ice-cream.
Use "doesn't" with he, she, it + infinitive form of the main verb to negate a statement:
- He doesn't like apples.
- She doesn't use a computer.
- It doesn't work.
- He doesn't have a swimming lesson today.
- She doesn't know that.
Look at the pictures and answer the questions. When the picture is crossed out, write a negative answer. For example: Does he have a car? No, he doesn't have a car.. When there is a picture without a cross, write a positive answer: Does he have a car? Yes, he has a car.
Questions in the simple present tense
Yes/No Questions with do/does
Yes/No Questions require somebody to make a decision. The answer can be either Yes or No.
To form questions in the simple present tense, you use "do" or "does" + the infinitive of the main verb:
- Use "do" with the pronouns I, you, we, they.
- Use "does" with the pronouns he, she, it.
- I like parties. – Do you like parties?
- You eat ice cream. – Do you eat ice cream?
- He likes music. – Does he like music?
- She plays the drums. – Does she play the drums?
- It works well. – Does it work well?
- We watch TV. – Do we watch TV?
- They like football. – Do they like football?
Note: Use do or does + the infinitive form of the main verb! Do not add s to the verb: Does he plays the drums? That's wrong! The s for "he, she, it" is already included in the form does!
Do the sentences start with Do or Does? Decide via drag and drop.
Write questions in the simple present tense. Use the words from the answers. For example: If the answer is Yes, she plays football. then write Does she play football?.
Remember how we form Yes/No Questions with the verb "to be": Are you tired?. You've already learned that you don't just answer with Yes or No, because that is sometimes impolite. Instead, you give a short answer: Yes, I am. or No, I am not..
The same rule applies to giving short answers to Yes/No Questions with other main verbs:
- Do you like parties? – Yes, I do. or No, I don't.
- Does he like music? – Yes, he does. or No, he doesn't.
- Does she play the drums? – Yes, she does. or No, she doesn't.
- Does it work well? – Yes, it does. or No, it doesn't.
- Do we watch TV? – Yes, we do. or No, we don't.
- Do they like football? – Yes, they do. or No, they don't.
Yes/No + personal pronoun + do/don't or does/doesn't
- Use do with I, you, we, they.
- Use does with he, she, it.
Read the following text and spot the mistakes. Select the incorrect use of do or does by clicking on the forms.
Practise short answers in the simple present. Choose the right form and complete the answer.
You use the simple present in two situations:
1. You use it to say that something (usually an action) is a regular routine, event or a fact:
- You always have lunch at 12.30 pm.
- It always does that.
- You never tell us about your parents.
- He sometimes calls me "Honey".
- We usually go to the cinema on the weekend.
All these sentences have special adverbials of frequency like always, never, seldom, rarely, every day, every week, every month, every year, sometimes, usually, normally, regularly, etc. These words often appear with and are an indicator of the simple present!
Be careful with the position of the adverbial: it comes before a main verb like eat, have, like, meet, see, come, call, go, but after the verb "to be":
- He always comes late. BUT He is always late.
- She never calls me back. BUT She is never at home when I call her.
- They sometimes come over to our place. BUT We are never at their place.
Also, there is one more exception: adverbials with every like every morning, every night, every day, every week, every month, every year, every time, … are placed at the end of the sentence:
- We meet our friends every weekend.
- They have dinner at 6.30 pm every night.
- He eats breakfast at 8 o'clock every morning.
2. You use the simple present to talk about a fact or a state like feelings, likes and dislikes that are true for a longer period of time:
- We live in New York.
- He hates vegetables.
- I love you.
- My English teacher is very nice.
- She likes chocolate.
- The dog is 5 years old.
- Her name is Anna.
- They have two cats.
Take a look at the daily routine of the Fernandez family. Then complete the exercise below. Fill in the first gap with the correct day of the week. Then fill in the second gap with the simple present form of the verb (in brackets). For example: On ____ afternoon, she ___ (play) volleyball. On Tuesday afternoon, she plays volleyball. To read again how to form the simple present, click here.
|family breakfast at 7 am||Maria art class at 4 pm||Anna with her friends at 3 pm||Anna late school start at 10 am|
|school bus at 7.45 am||Pedro swims in the evening||Pedro's favourite TV show at 7 pm||family cinema at 8 pm|
Listen to the audio file. Then match the times with the actions using Drag and Drop.