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1. The present simple

The present simple is a verb tense that is mainly used to express actions that take place regularly.
I live in that house.
She runs every day.

2. Structure of present simple 

  • Affirmative form

    In affirmative sentences the verb has the same form with all the pronouns, except he, she and it.

    Subject Verb Examples
    I work I work in a factory.
    You You work in a factory.
    He works He works in a factory.
    She She works in a factory.
    It It works.
    We work We work in a factory.
    You You work in a factory.
    They They work in a factory.

    As we can see, an -s or  -es is added to the third person singular verb (he/she/it) depending on its ending.

    Ending Examples
    If the verb used ends in -SS, -SH, -CH, -O, or -X, the ending of the third person is -ES
    To kiss
     
    He kisses
    To fish
     
    He fishes
    To watch
     
    She watches
    To go
     
    She goes
    To fix
     
    He fixes
    If the verb used ends in a consonant plus    -Y, the ending of the third person is formed replacing the -Y with -IES
    To study
     
    He studies
    To fly
     
    She flies
    If the verb used ends in a vowel plus -      Y, we just add an -S at the end.
    To play
     
    He plays
    To stay
     
    He stays
  • Negative form

    In negative sentences we add the auxiliary verb do followed by the particle not between the subject and the main verb, although with he, she and it we'll use the form does followed by the particle not.

    Subject AuxiliarY Verb Examples
    I do not
    don't
    work I don't work in a factory.
    You You don't work in a factory.
    He does not
    doesn't
    He doesn't work in a factory.
    She She doesn't work in a factory.
    It It doesn't work.
    We do not
    don't
    We don't work in a factory.
    You You don't work in a factory.
    They They don't work in a factory.
    Notice that in the 3rd person singular there is no -s added to the end of the verb in the negative form, as the auxiliary takes the -s (doesn't). The same happens in the case of questions, as follows.
    It's more usual to use the contracted form don't and doesn't rather than do not or does not.
  • Interrogative form
    In questions the auxiliary verb do or does is placed at the beginning of the sentence followed by the subject, then the main verb and after that, the rest of the sentence.
    AuxiliarY Subject Verb Examples
    Do I work? Do I work in a factory?
    you Do you work in a factory?
    Does he work? Does he work in a factory?
    she Does she work in a factory?
    it Does it work?
    Do we work? Do we work in a factory?
    you Do you work in a factory?
    they Do they work in a factory?

    As it happens with the verbs to be and have got, the questions in present simple also have short answers.

    Adverb Subject AuxiliarY
    Yes, I do
    you
    he does
    she
    it
    we do
    you
    they
    Do you work in a factory? Yes, I do.
    Adverb Subject AuxiliarY
    No, I don't
    you
    he doesn't
    she
    it
    we don't
    you
    they
    Does he fly in a plane? No, he doesn't.

3. How is the present simple used?

The present simple is mainly used to express:

  • Habits or repeated actions, that is, actions that happen regularlyIn this case, it's quite common the use of frequency adverbs such as: always, usually, sometimes, never...
    I have breakfast every day.
    She plays tennis on Saturdays.
  • Affirmations or things that are always true.
    The sun rises every day.
    Lions live in Africa.
  • Situations that last over a period of time and continue up until the present and also into the future.
    I live in Venice.
    They love opera.
  • Actions that happen in the future at a regular pre-stablished time. So, a time expression will be needed.
    Our AVE leaves at 10 o'clock.
    The piano lessons start on Monday.
  • Instructions on how to use or do something.
    First you fold the paper in half.
    You take your cash and then the credit card.
  • With actions that are currently taking place, we use the present continuous. However, if the verb is a stative verb, the -ing form is not possible and for this reason we use the present simple.
    I don't understand what you are saying.
    She has a new motorbike.
    Stative verbs are verbs that don't describe dynamic actions. To follow, we'll show you a list of the main stative verbs:
    Use Stative verb Examples
    Likes, preferences and emotions Like, dislike, prefer, love, hate, etc. They like going on holiday at Christmas.
    Possessions  Have, include, involve, etc. She doesn't have a new car.
    Weight, measure... Weigh, measure, contain, etc. I weigh 1 kilo less than last week.
    Wish or necessity Want, wish, need, etc. My brother wants to go home because he is tired.
    Senses or perception  Sound, hear, taste, see, imagine, smell, remember, etc. I don't remember where I put my keys.
    Opinion, doubt, agreement or disagreement Understand, think, look, etc. I don't understand what you are saying.

Remember!

The present simple (I sing) has the following structure:

  Structure Examples
AFFIRMATIVE Subject + verb + (complements) I live in Barcelona.
NEGATIVE Subject + don't/doesn't + verb + (complements) I don't like pizza.
INTERROGATIVE Do/does + subject + verb + (complements)? Do you love books? Yes, we do.

The main uses of the present simple are:

Use Examples
Habits or actions that happen regularly I go to the gym three times a week.
Affirmations or things that are always true The sun rises in the east.
Situations that last over a period of time I don't live in a big town.
Actions that take place at a pre-stablished time in the future. The meeting starts at 9.30 a.m.
Instructions First, you put the batteries in.
With stative verbs Do you like cheese?

 

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