Simple Present Tense
There are two main uses for simple present. First, it describes actions that are generally true or that occur habitually:
- It rains in the summer and snows in the winter.
- Albany is the capitol of New York.
- She sings beautifully.
It also describes feelings, attitudes, or impressions, otherwise known as states of being:
- He likes that girl.
- I feel tired.
- We believe everything he says.
Verbs that indicate action are called dynamic verbs. Verbs that indicate a feeling or state of being are called stative verbs.
Stative verbs have no continuous form in the English language. For instance, you cannot write, “I am believing in what you say.” When you use a stative verb in the simple present, the continuous nature of the feeling or state of being is implied.
The simple present is also sometimes used to describe a planned future action:
- My flight leaves Boston at 6:30 AM next Friday.
- The presentation is in March.
Forming the Simple Present
You conjugate the simple present tense with regular verbs like this:
|I walk.||We walk.|
|You walk.||You walk.|
|He, she, or it walks.||They walk.|
Notice that the only change occurs in the third-person singular. When the infinitive form of a regular verb ends in o, ch, sh, th, ss, gh, or z, you add an “es” instead of an “s.”
|I go.||We go.|
|You go.||You go.|
|He, she, it goes.||They go.|
Some verbs, like “to be,” are irregular:
|I am.||We are.|
|You are.||You are.|
|She, he, or it is.||They are.|
Making the Simple Present Negative
To make the simple present of a stative verb negative, you add the verb “to do” + “not” to the root form of the verb.
- She doesn’t want to go.
- I don’t understand this proposition.
- We do not eat brussel sprouts in this family.
Notice that you can form contractions to make your sentences less formal.
Phrasing the Simple Present as a Question
To ask a question in the simple present, you begin with the appropriate form of the auxiliary verb “to do,” followed by the subject and the root verb. Interrogatives can also begin with adverbs expressing time or place.
- Do the girls want to go swimming?
- Where do you think we should park the car?
- Why does she cry whenever she feels happy?
Learn about all of the verb tenses.