Simple Present Tense


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What Is the Simple Present Tense? (with Examples)

The simple present tense is quite simple to form (see spelling rules on the right), but it's not simple in terms of how it's used. In fact, it's quite complicated.

Examples of the Simple Present Tense

The simple present tense is used:

(1) To describe facts and habits: (NB: These activities do not have to be happening right now.)

This type of sentence, especially if it's describing a habit, will usually include a time expression like always, every year, never, often, on Mondays, rarely, sometimes, or usually.

(2) To describe scheduled events in the future (Yep, I know! It's supposed to be the present tense!)

(3) To tell stories (particularly jokes) to make your listener or reader feel more engaged with the story. (This is sometimes called the fictional present or the historic present.)

The Negative Version

To create a negative sentence, use "do not" + [base form of the verb]. (Use "does not" with third person singular (he / she / it).) For example: In speech and writing (especially informal writing), do not is often shortened to don't, and does not is often shortened to doesn't. If you want to add some emphasis, use one of the long versions (i.e., do not or does not), and emphasize the word not.

The Question Version

Forming the Simple Present Tense

Here is an infographic explaining the simple present tense:

The Other Present Tenses

The simple present tense is one of four present tenses. They are:
The 4 Present Tenses Example
simple present tense I go
present progressive tense I am going
present perfect tense I have gone
present perfect progressive tense I have been going

Forming the Simple Present Tense

The simple present tense is quite easy to form. Let's take the verb to run (whose base form is run). In the simple present tense, run looks like this:
First person singularI run
Second person singularYou run
Third person singularHe/She/It runs
First person pluralWe run
Second person pluralYou run
Third person pluralThey run

In other words, it only changes in the third person singular (he / she / it). It adds either s, es or ies.

The Spelling Rules

For regular verbs, just add s: For verbs that end in s, ss, sh, ch, x and o, add es: For verbs ending [consonant]y, change the y to i and add es:

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See Also

Tenses Simple past tense Past progressive tense Past perfect tense Past perfect progressive tense Simple present tense
Present progressive tense Present perfect tense Present perfect progressive tense Simple future tense Future progressive tense Future perfect tense Future perfect progressive tense Glossary of grammatical terms