The present simple

The present simple

Instructions: 

As you watch the video, look at the examples of the present simple. They are in red in the subtitles. Then read the conversation below to learn more. Finally, do the grammar exercises to check you understand, and can use, the present simple tense.

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Daisy is chatting to her brother Oliver, and his best mate Alfie, about her new boyfriend.  Daisy and Oliver’s mum is working in Thailand this week.

We use the present simple to talk about repeated actions or events, permanent states or things which are always true. To find out more about the present simple, read and listen to the conversation below.

Can you give me some examples?

Yes, of course. We use the present simple to talk about things which are repeated every day, every week, every year, etc.

I usually get up at 7 o'clock.
During the week I have swimming practice on Mondays, I do taekwondo on Tuesdays and tennis on Thursdays.
We always go on holiday in the summer.

I see. And you use words for explaining more about the time too.

Yes, we often use adverbs of frequency sometimes, often, usually or other time expressions like on Mondays, twice a week or in the summer.

What about permanent states? What does that mean?

Permanent states are situations or feelings which are not temporary.

I like him a lot.
Sophie works as a travel writer.
They live in London.

We also use the present simple for general facts, for example when talking about science or geography.

Thailand is really hot at this time of year.
Snakes live on the ground, in trees and in water.

So what do I need to know about forming the present simple?

The main thing is that the third person singular forms end in –s or –es. That's for he, she or it.

He watches black and white films at his cinema club on Wednesdays.
He thinks chess is a sport!

OK, and the other forms don't end in  –s  or –es?  I watch TV a lot. We think Coldplay are boring.

Correct!

What about questions and negatives?

For most verbs we use the present simple of the verb do/does + subject + infinitive without to to form questions.

Do you see him on Wednesdays then?
Does Jack like sports?

For negatives we use the subject + do/does + not + infinitive without to.

Daisy and Jack don't go out together much at the weekend.
I don't think Coldplay are boring.

To go back to the idea of permanent and temporary things, what about this sentence: Is your mum in Thailand this week? Isn't that temporary?

Yes, it is. That's a very good point. Normally we use the present simple for permanent states, and the present continuous for temporary states, but some verbs are thought of as State Verbs and they are not usually used in the continuous form.

And the verb to be is one of those verbs?

Exactly! So even though staying in Thailand is temporary, we use the present simple with the verb 'to be'. Here's another example:

How's Daisy? Is she with you?   

But that isn't the question form you just told me about! Where's the do?

Ah, no. I said 'for most verbs we use do in questions'. The verb to be is different and so are modal verbs like can. We'll look at the verb to be separately because it's different and very common.

What are the other state verbs?

We'll look at those when we look at the Present Continuous. Any more questions?

Yes, what about: The train leaves at 5 in the morning. Isn't that talking about an event in the future?

Yes, it is, but it's also a repeated event. This is sometimes called the 'timetable future'.

OK, I have a maths class in a minute, so I have to go.

Good use of the 'timetable future'! Bye!

 

Total votes: 1033
Discussion

Tell us about your typical day. Remember to use the present simple!

Comments

Fatime143's picture
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I always get up at 6 o clock,have a shower and dresses.I have breakfast at half past six.I leave home at a quarter to seven.I came to school at 7:50.After school,i do my homework at home.I dont have time to watch TV.After dinner i read book.and finally i go to sleep at 22:00.

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Jonathan - Coordinator's picture
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Hi rinaismail. Well, the sentence has two parts. "Jimmy is looking" is in the present continuous, and "he hears the roar" is in the present simple. :-)
Jonathan (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

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AnaB's picture
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Hi! I always get up in 7 o'clock in the morning. Than I have breakfest. While I finish my friend wait for me. Than we go together to school. I'm in school for seven or sometimes eight houres. I come home. I have lunch. Than I go in my room and clean it. After that I go to study.When I finish with my homework I go online. Than my mum comes home and she is asking us about the new lessons. And after some houres, dad come home. We have dinner, and sometimes, usualy at Fridays and Saturdes I go out with my friends. I hope past simple, in this text, here is correct. :3
I almost forget, what's that 'timetable future'? Is there some special lesson for this. I'm hearing for this frist time. And it's something strange for me. :3 :)

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Jonathan - Coordinator's picture
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Hi Ana! You wrote about your daily routine very well. You sound quite busy :) I/you/we/they take the basic verb form and you used this correctly. Don't forget that for he/she and it, add "s" to the verb.

Here's a bit more about the 'timetable future'. Look at these examples:

  • Hurry up! The film starts at 6:30!
  • My birthday party is next Friday at 8pm. Please come!
  • Which train are you on? What time does it arrive? I'll come and meet you at the station.

You can use the present simple to talk about something that will happen in the future, for example a bus, plane or train and what time it will leave or arrive, what time a shop will open or close, or when and where an event such as a party will take place. These are especially things that are part of a timetable or schedule, so they happen regularly. 

I hope that helps! Thanks for your question and please write again if anything else isn't clear!

Jonathan (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

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RoseAnn's picture
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First, I eat breakfast and then i go to school. After school I have piano lesson and after I write my homework and then I'm free. :)

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Hiihoi's picture
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I get up at 6 o'clock in the morning. Then I have breakfast together with my mum. At 7 o'clock I take the train to go to school. After school I have lunch and than I usually met some friends. Sometimes I have also music lessons or sports. When I come home I make my homework and watch TV. After dinner I read a book or listen to a CD and then I go to sleep.

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61 users have voted.
Jonathan - Coordinator's picture
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Hi paque! Thanks for your comment. If you have a question, or if you tell us which part you don't understand, we'll try to help.
Jonathan (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

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Natalija's picture
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I get up at seven o'clock, have a shower, have a breakfast and prepare myself for school. Classes finish at two o'clock and I come home. I have a lunch and after that, I usually take a nap, it's so refreshing, and it lasts for half an hour. After that, I do my homework, study for the next day and go to dance classes-my favourite part of the day. I like dancing and it takes me about 3 hours daily, and 4 at weekends. It's sometimes hard to make it, because of so many obligations at school, home etc., but it's possible. After dance classes, I go home, study again and help my mum with dinner and dishes.
I don't have time to watch TV, and I barely go to Internet-just to check email, visit this site:), and see if there's something new. After dinner I call my sister-she's away from home, play with my cat and I read a book, and finally, go sleep at 22:30.

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FERNANDA V's picture
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usually the whole week floor to make the same thing, I get up, I take a bath, I prepare the breakfast and Aug the lunch to take it. Monday study to Tuesday administrative administration and Wednesday, Thursday and Friday work the weekends I stay at home making occupations and works.

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JoEditor's picture
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Hi FERNANDA V,
Welcome to LearnEnglish Teens and thanks for your comment. Did you use an online translator to write your comment? There are a few parts that aren't very clear to read and because I know Spanish I can see that maybe you tried using a translator. It's not a problem - sometimes it's useful to use translator tools. But try not to use a translator, and write simple and easy sentences. :)
Best wishes, Jo (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

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