Present Simple(Indefinite) tense in English

Present Simple(Indefinite) tense in EnglishPresent Simple as the basic English tense. Learn all its cases structurally.

Present Simple/Indefinite is the default present tense for regular activity. Its form is the bare infinitive. Negative Present Simple has do not = don’t before infinitive. Present Simple questions have the helping verb do before subjects.

I don’t know.

How do you do?

Singular 3rd person

With the singular 3rd person (he/she/it or their substitutes) Present Simple verbs have –s (or –es after –o/ss/sh/ch/x). In consonant + y verbs this –y changes to –ie-.

goes, misses, washes, searches, fixes, tries

The –es ending sounds as [iz] after –ss/sh/ch/x. The –(e)s ending sounds as [z] in all other cases.

Thus negative and interrogative Present Simple in the singular 3rd person has does not = doesn’t. Do(es) forms mini-replies without repeating main verbs.

Does it work? – No, it doesn’t.

This –(e)s Present Simple ending is important but often forgotten.

? +
does sb do sth sb does sth sb doesn’t do sth

Present Simple Meanings

  • states (with stative verbs – senses/feelings/mentalities)

I love vanilla ice-cream.

Adrian needs your help.

  • routines (repeated actions)

He usually gets up at 10.

I catch the 8 o’clock train every day.

  • axioms (general truths, natural laws)

The sun sets in the west.

Cats don’t like water.

  • programs (schedules, timetables)

The train leaves at 3.30 this afternoon.

The Prime Minister starts his official visit to China tomorrow.

  • reviews (quotation introduction)

The legend says the apocalypse comes on December, 21 2012.

Mike Dalton plays the part of Macbeth.

  • dramatic narratives (sports comments, media headlines)

And Eastwood passes the ball to Andrews.

Riots Break Out In City Center

  • instructions (imperative directions)

You take the 1st turning on the left.

You mix the soup with some cream at the end.

Grammatical Present Simple

  • future clauses of time/condition (after when/if/unless/before/after/until/as soon as/whenever/whatever/whoever)

Will you tell me if you see her?

I’ll give her the message when she comes back.

Time Reference

Present Simple features the following time references:

  • frequency adverbs/adverbials

usually/typically/regularly/as a rule/often, always, sometimes/seldom/rarely/occasionally, never

Do you often go out with your wife?

  • time modifiers

every day/week/month/year, in the morning/afternoon/evening, at night, on weekends, on Saturdays, once a week

On evenings we play video games.