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Present Simple

For things that are generally true and habits

Present Simple for things that are generally true and habits

Overview

In this grammar section we will have a look at the Present simple tense to talk about things that are generally true and habits.

Examples

Generally true

A: Do you work?
B: Yes, I am a doctor. I work in a hospital.

A: Do you have a brother?
B: No, I don’t have a brother

A: What is winter like?
B: It is always very cold and sometimes it snows.

Habits

A: What do you do in your free time?
B: I play computer games from time to time. I often read books. I spend a lot of time with my children. I also enjoy watching series. I don’t do a lot of sports. 

A: How often do you go to a restaurant?
B: About once a month I go to a restaurant.

Usage/ Meaning

Present Simple for things that are generally true and habits time line

You use the present simple to talk about something that is generally true:

  • I am a doctor. (always true)
  • I don’t have a brother.(always true)
  • It is always cold. (always true)
  • It sometimes snows. (generally true)

You also use the present simple to talk about habits:

  • From time to time I play computer games. (habit)
  • I often read. (habit)
  • I enjoy watching TV. (generally true/ habit)
  • I don’t do a lot of sports. (habit/ generally true)
  • About once a month I go to a restaurant. (habit)

Form

Positive

Examples

  • I work
  • She plays computer games

Positive:

  • I work
  • You work
  • she/he/it works
  • You work
  • They work
  • We work

I/You/They/We Subject + infinitive (without to)

She/he/it + infinitive + s

Exceptions

    • Final letter before Y is a consonant 
      • I study: She studies 
      • I worry: he worries
      • y changes into ie
  • Verbs ending in ch, sh, s, x or a, o
    • I watch: He watches 
    • I finish: it finishes
    • I go: she goes
    • I do: she does
    • +es instead of s

 

Practice

Negative

Examples 

  • I don’t work
  • We do not play computer games
  • She doesn’t read books
  • He does not speak English

 

Pronoun

Short form

Long form

Don’t work

Do not work

you

Don’t work

Do not work

she/it/he

Doesn’t work

Does not work

you

Don’t work

Do not work

they

Don’t work

Do not work

we

Don’t work

Do not work

I/you/they/we don’t + infinitive (without to): don’t work

she/he/it + doesn’t + infinitive (without to): doesn’t work

Practice

Question

Examples

  • Do you work?
  • Does she work?

Do

Pronoun

Infinitive 

Do

work

Do

you

work

Does

she/it/he

work

Do

you

work

Do

they

work

Do

we

work

Do + I/you/they/we + infinitive (without to): Do you work?

Does + she/he/it + infinitive (without to): does she work?

NOT Does she works!

Practice

Short answer

 

  • Yes, I do.
  • Yes, she does
    • Subject + do/does
  • No, I don’t
  • No, She doesn’t
    • Subject + don’t/ doesn’t

Pronunciation

With he/she/it the s has 3 different sounds : /s/, /z/ /iz/

When the last letter before the -s is non vibrating, the s sound is /s/

  • She works
  • She puts
  • She surfs

When the last letter before the -s is vibrating, the s sound is /z/

  • She plays
  • She runs
  • She spend

When the last letter before the -s is hissing sound (/ʧ/, /ʤ/, /ʃ/, /ʒ/, /z/, /s/), the s sound is /iz/

  • She teaches
  • She judges
  • She finishes
  • She messages
  • She loses
  • She misses

Time words

The present simple is often used with these time words

  • Every day: I drink coffee every day.
  • Always: She always comes late.
  • Never: I never get up early.
  • Once a week: I go swimming once a week.
  • Twice a month: I visit my parents twice a month
  • Usually: They usually arrive on time.
  • From time to time: I ride a bike from time to time
  • Often: We often take a taxi.

Questions

Have a look at the questions and write your answers in the comments below. Also give us some more details about when, where, why,….

  1. Do you play any sports?
  2. Do you like reading books?
  3. What is your favourite season?
  4. What do you usually have for breakfast?
  5. At what time do you usually get up in the morning?
  6. Do you have any brothers or sisters?
  7. What do you like about your teacher?
  8. How often do you eat out?
  9. When do you see your friends?
  10. How often do you go to the cinema?

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Kristof Abrath
Teacher, Trainer, Course Designer
Teaching in English on 4 different continents since 2006.

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