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Learning Zone
Learning Zone
Grammar

The use & example of Present Simple Tense

Level: A1, A2

 AFFIRMATIVE FORM

In Present Simple Tense, the verb is in its basic form.

I play the piano.
Children like sweets.

The third person of the singular is the exception, as we add the ending -s to the verb.

My sister never reads comic books.
Ian works in a bank.


SPELLING RULES

Some of the verbs take the -es, instead of -s ending. These are verbs ending with:

ending example
-ss I kiss – she kisses.
-sh I wash – she washes.
-ch I watch – she watches.
-x I fix – she fixes.
-o I do – she does.

In the verbs ending with the consonant + y, the final y turns into -ie-. Hence:

I fly.
The plane flies.

I cry.
She cries.

When we have a vowel before y, there is no change in spelling:

She often buys fish here.
Robert plays the violin.
Also please note the irregular form of the verb have in the third person singular:

I have a nice flat near the river.
Betty has a big house in the suburbs.


 QUESTIONS AND NEGATIVE FORMS

We form questions and negative forms by the addition of the auxiliary verb do, which in the third person singular receives -es ending (does). In negative sentences, we usually use short forms:

do + not = don’t 
do + not = doesn’t

I speak Spanish.
I don’t speak any Spanish.

I go to school by bus.
Do you go to school by bus or by tram?

She lives in Tokyo.
Where does she live?

When using the operator does, we no longer add the -s ending to the verb because this ending has been “transferred” to the auxiliary verb:

Tom works in a bank.
Where does Peter work?


 USAGE

We use Present Simple to express:

function example
to express activities that are repeated over time, happening regularly I usually get up around 7 AM.
to express permanent situations I live in a big city.
to express the first conditional sentences If I have a lot of money, I’ll go around the world.

TIME EXPRESSIONS

Below we list the time expressions characteristic for Present Simple Tense:

  • always
  • sometimes
  • never
  • often
  • usually
  • on Fridays/ Mondays
  • rarely/ seldom
  • every week/ month
  • every two/ three.., weeks/ years
  • once/ twice/ four times… a day/ week
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