What is the present simple?
The present simple (or simple present) is one of the English verb tenses.
You can learn more English online by visiting our free English grammar lessons, which include other verb tenses and more grammar points.
You can also find more grammar, vocabulary and communication tasks for each English level:
Use & examples
We use the present simple tense to describe:
How do you write and pronounce the present simple?
Form: Key points
- Use the base form of the verb, which is the infinitive without 'to'.
- After 'he/she/it' in the positive form, the verb ends in 's'.
Here are examples of the affirmative (positive) form, negative form and question form using the verb 'live'.
do not = don't / does not = doesn't
Yes, I do. / No, I don't.
The present simple with 's' (after he/she/it in the positive form) has three different pronunciation sounds.
- /s/ (e.g. works, eats) - when 's' comes after an unvoiced or silent sound.
- /z/ (e.g. lives, plays) - when 's' comes after a voiced consonant or vowel sound.
- /ɪz/ (e.g. watches, fixes) - when 's' comes after consonants with a hissing sound /ʧ/, /ʤ/, /ʃ/, /ʒ/, /z/, /s/.
Spelling exceptions for verbs
For the present perfect simple, we have extra information about the exceptions:
I am, You are, He/She/It is, We are, You are, They are.
I am British.
You are German.
He is French.
2) Have, Go and Do after he/she/it (third person singular)
Change 'have' to 'has', 'go' to 'goes', and 'do' to 'does'.
[have] He has a car.
[go] She goes to work at 8:30.
[do] He does her homework in the evening.
3) Verbs ending in 'consonant + y'
Change 'y' to 'ies'.
[fly] She flies to Spain every year.
[cry] She cries during the film.
Compare verbs ending in 'vowel + y':
[play] He plays football.
4) Verbs ending in 's', 'z', 'ch', 'sh', 'x'
Add 'es' to base form.
[watch] He watches television.
[fix] She fixes the car.
Quiz 1: General facts, habits and states.
My friend and his job.
[Topic: Friends / Jobs]
Type the verbs in the present simple tense, using the affirmative, negative or question form.
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- I (live) [live] in Germany.
- I (don't play, do not play) [play] any sport.
- My friend (works) [work] in Asia.
- (Does) he (like)[like] his job? No, he (does not, doesn't).
- He (doesn't drive, does not drive)[drive] to work. He takes the train.
- He (flies)[fly] to England every year.
- (Does) he (have)[have] any brothers or sisters? Yes, he (does). He (has)[have] two brothers.
- His parents (are) [be] doctors.
- We (do not, don't speak)[speak] on the phone, but we write emails.
- (Is)[be] your friend married? No, he (isn't, 's not, is not).