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Present Simple Tense (Simple Present): Definition, Rules and Useful Examples


Present Simple! In this section, we will be taking a look at the present simple tense in much more detail. This will not only give you a clearer understanding of this aspect of grammar but will also enable you to form more concise sentences.

Learn useful grammar rules to use the Simple Present Tense in English with example sentences and ESL printable worksheets.

Present Simple

What is the Simple Present Tense?

If you want to talk about an action which is happening in the present moment, you will be using the present simple tense. This is a tense commonly used within the English language and comes with its own set of grammar rules. It is important to understand these rules and know how to use them so that your speech is clear and comprehensive.

The simple present tense of English language verbs is more complicated than the name suggests. In English grammar, the simple present tense is one of the verb forms associated with the present tense.

The simple present tense is typically used for the following four general cases:

  1. To express facts, general statements of truth, and common-sense ideas that everybody knows.
  2. To state habits, customs, and events that happen periodically.
  3. To describe future plans and events.
  4. To tell jokes, stories, and relate sporting events in real-time.

The key thing that simple present tense verbs ARE NOT used for is to talk about an action that subject is performing in the present. That usage is more geared towards present participles.

The first person, second person, and third person plural regular verbs are straightforward and are just like the infinitive form of the verb most of the time.

The third person singular has a couple rules associated with it that may take a bit of memorization at first but will become second nature through repetition.

  • To most regular verbs, add an s’ at the end.
  • To verbs that end in s’, ss’, sh’, ch’, th’, x’, z’, or o’, add an es’.
  • To verbs that end in y’, drop the y’ and add ies’.


  • Infinitive: To Go
  • First Person: I go/We go
  • Second Person: You go
  • Third Person: He goes/They go


  • Infinitive: To study
  • First Person: I study/We study
  • Second Person: You study
  • Third Person: She studies/They study


  • Infinitive: To Mix
  • First Person: I Mix/We Mix
  • Second Person: You Mix
  • Third Person: He mixes/They mix

The simple present tense can be combined with several expressions to indicate the time when an action occurs periodically, such as “every Tuesday”, “always”, “usually”, “twice a month”, etc…Additionally, this form can be made negative or can be used in the interrogative form as well. There is a lot of flexibility to this so-called simple tense to express complex ideas.

In the next section are ten examples to demonstrate the different spellings and the various use cases described above. After that are several exercises to provide practice identifying the different forms of the simple present tense verb. As always, a good way to continually reinforce this information is to try and identify this type of verb while reading and always, always, always keep a dictionary or google search window handy.

Simple Present Tense Structure

Present Simple Tense with “TO BE” (am/is/are)

Affirmative sentence:

S + am/is/are + predicate…


He is a doctor.

Negative Sentence:

S + am/is/are + not + predicate…


He isn’t a doctor.

Interrogative Sentence:

Am/Is/ Are + S + predicate?


Is he a doctor?

Simple Present Tense with Other Verbs

Affirmative sentence:

S + verb + object…


We like tea.

Negative sentence:

S + don’t/doesn’t + verb + object…


We don’t like tea.

Interrogative sentence:

Do/ Does + S + verb + object?


Do you like tea?

Examples of the Simple Present Tense

  1. In the United States, Daylight Saving Time begins on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November.
  2. My wife and I drink a toast to the New Year every January 1st.
  3. So, a horse walks into a bar and the bartender says “Why the long face?”….
  4. My company issues promotions and raises next week.
  5. The human body maintains a temperature of 98.6 degrees.
  6. Do you like my cat?
  7. Does my dog wake you up when he barks at night?
  8. always feed my kids before sending them off to school.
  9. The best student in the class studies twice as much as anyone.
  10. The chef mixes fish shrimp with steak to make the best surf’ n turf’ in town.

How to Use the Simple Present

The Present Simple Tense Usage

The Present Simple tense is used to express:

General Truth


The sun rises in the east.



I play badminton every Tuesday.

Future Timetables


Our train leaves at 9 am.

Future after “When”, “Until”…


I won’t go out until it stops raining.

Permanent Situations


He works in a bank.

For Newspaper Headlines


Man enters space.

With Non-progressive


I believe that you are innocent.

When Telling Stories


Suddenly, the window opens and a masked man enters.

For Giving Directions and Instructions


First of all, you break the eggs and whisk with sugar.

Notes for the Present Simple

The basic form of the simple present is the same as the base form of the verb, unless the subject is third person singular, in which case a form with the addition of -(e)s is used.

  • For pronouns Iyouwethey, there is no modification for verbs.
  • For pronouns hesheit, a suffix is added following these rules:

For verbs that end in –o, –ch, –sh, –s, –x, or –z, the suffix –es is added


Do – Does

Touch – Touches

Fix – Fixes

For verbs that end in a consonant + y, the letter y is replaced by the suffix –ies.


Try – Tries

Study – Studies

Carry – Carries

In other cases, the suffix –s is added.


Cook – Cooks

Say – Says

Laugh – laughs

Time Expressions in the Present Simple Tense

  • This evening
  • At 10 am
  • When
  • Until
  • As soon as
  • After
  • Before
  • Twice a month
  • Every Tuesday
  • Often
  • Sometimes

Present Simple Tense Chart

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