March 20, 2023
September 25, 2023.
The simple present tense is a verb form used to talk about habits, unchanging situations, facts, and planned events in the near future.
The simple present tense of most verbs is the infinitive form (e.g., “sing”). However, the third person singular (e.g., “he,” “she,” and “it”) takes an “s” at the end of the verb (e.g., “write” becomes “writes”).
Don't stress about your grammar any longer
You focus on the content. We check your writing. All in minutes, no matter the size of your document. It's the easiest way to improve your grade.
The simple present is used to refer to habits, unchanging situations or states, general truths, and scheduled events in the future.
Most verbs in the simple present tense use the infinitive form (e.g., “run”). The only exception is the third person singular (used with “he,” “she,” “it,” and any singular noun), which is usually formed by adding “s” to the end of the verb.
The simple present is also used along with future simple tense constructions to talk about a future action. In these instances, the simple present construction is usually preceded by a subordinating conjunction (e.g., “after,” “before,” “as soon as,” “when”).
Forming the third person singular
The third person singular is usually formed by adding “s” to the end of the verb (e.g., “run” becomes “runs”). However, this can vary depending on the verb’s ending.
The stative verb “be” is used in the simple present to refer to unchanging situations (e.g., “You are clever”) and to temporary present situations (e.g., “Ramone is hungry”). This verb changes in form more than any other, as shown in the table below.
Present simple vs. present continuous
While the present simple is typically used to refer to habits, states, and facts, the present continuous is used to describe a temporary action that is currently taking place.
How to form negatives
For most subjects, negative statements are formed by adding “do not” (or the contraction “don’t”) between the subject and the verb. The third person singular uses “does not” (or “doesn’t”).
The verb “be” is made negative by adding the adverb “not” after the verb. This is the case for all subjects.
How to form questions
To ask a yes–no question using the simple present, add “do” before the subject and the infinitive form of the verb. Again, the exception is the third person singular, which uses “does” instead of “do.”
Passive sentences are ones in which the subject is acted upon (rather than performing the action). In the simple present, the passive voice uses a conjugated form of the verb “be” along with a past participle.
Worksheet: Simple present vs. present continuous
You can test your understanding of the difference between the simple present and the present continuous with the worksheet below. Fill in one of the two options in each sentence.
In the simple present tense, the stative verb “be” is used to describe temporary present situations (e.g., “I am tired”) and unchanging situations (e.g., “Laura is a doctor”). The form of the verb varies depending on the subject: