easy grammar · Grammar · Uncategorized

Simpler Than Thou: English Tense Basics: Present Simple

Or Simple Present.

Believe me, I’ve never been a great fan of grammar. When I was younger, I never did a single grammar exercise in my life. But I’ve always read a lot. And so should you! When you read a lot, using correct grammar should just be a piece of cake.

However when you don’t read a lot, or you don’t read enough, because you have a busy job or you’re more interested in math, that is where the problem starts. In this case, you can speed up the learning process if you look into some grammar rules.

What is Present Simple?

Present Simple is the most basic tense (or verb time). In theory this tense should be very easy to learn. Yet I’ve seen many of my cleverest students struggle with it. You’ll have to get it right, however, otherwise your English will sound bad.

You make the Present Simple by using the most basic form of the verb.

Here are some examples:

I use a pen.

I read a newspaper every day.

Mr. Freedman always orders the fish.

When should you use the Present Simple?

Maybe you were able to infer from the above examples that there are two main situations in which you use the present simple:

1 When something is a habit (something you do every day, every week, etc.).

Look at these examples:

I get up at 8 o’clock every day.

She finishes work at 3 on Fridays.

They visit the theatre every month.

2 When something is permanent, or takes a long time.


I live in Israel.

The Coopers live in Toronto.

My neighbour works in a high-tech company.

* Also facts use the present simple.


Elephants are big.

Bees make honey. (You could say: it’s their habit.)

The moon turns around the Earth.

How should you write the Present Simple?

You probably know this already: in Present Simple certain forms of the verb take an –s at the end.

(This is only true when the sentence is a statement. It’s not true for negatives or questions.)

This is the case when the subject is he, she or it, or when they can be replaced by he, she or it. The other pronouns I, you, we and they take the simple verb form without –s.

Examples for the verb to talk:

I talk

You talk

He talks                                 and also: Stewart talks

She talks                               and also: Mrs. Laning talks

It talks                                   and also: The puppet talks

We talk                                  and also: My grandma and I talk

You talk                                 and also: You and your friends talk

They talk                                and also: The team members talk


Some other time we’ll talk about how you make negatives and questions in Present Simple. First try this exercise.


1 His parents ______________ (have) a holiday home in Fiji.

2 The Prince of Wales _____________ (drive) an Aston Martin.

3 She ____________ (ride) a bike.

4 My cousin ___________ (study) at University.

5 Her brother ____________ (work) in a hospital.

6 The gardener ___________ (talk) to the plants.

7 The company ______________ (publish) a catalogue.

8 He ___________ (wake) with the birds.

9 Her knees _________ (hurt) after every workout.
Hope that wasn’t too difficult. Answers when you scroll down.









1 have
2 drives
3 rides
4 studies
5 works
6 talks
7 publishes
8 wakes
9 hurt

20 thoughts on “Simpler Than Thou: English Tense Basics: Present Simple

  1. You mention “simpler than thou” and refer to it as the simple present tense. Do you know what it means in old English by any chance?


  2. Pingback: Verb |

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s