Easy Learning

The present simple tense - Easy Learning Grammar

Typical forms of this tense are as in:
  • I know her.
  • He knows her.
The present simple tense of do is used as the supporting auxiliary when you want to:
  • ask a question,
  • Do I know you?
  • Does she know you?
  • make a negative statement using not,
  • I do not know her.
  • She does not know you.
  • or give a short response.
  • Do you just have coffee for breakfast? – Yes, I do.
We use the present simple tense to talk about:
  • habits, likes and dislikes, and things that happen regularly.
    • I like coffee for breakfast but everyone else in my family prefers tea.
    • I don’t take sugar in my coffee.
    • What does Jamie usually have for breakfast?
    • They often go to the cinema on Saturdays.
    • I don’t usually watch TV.
    (When we talk about habits, we often add adverbs such as often, always, usually, sometimes, or never, or adverbial phrases such as on Sundays or in the summer.)
  • statements of fact that are scientific truths or that are about a permanent state.
  • The sun rises in the east.
  • Birds fly south in the winter.
  • We live in Scotland.
  • statements that indicate the speaker’s opinions or beliefs.
  • I think he’s a very good teacher.
  • I don’t agree with that at all.
  • for dramatic narrative to tell a story or describe an action vividly,
  • He walks slowly to the checkout and puts his bag on the counter. As the cashier opens the till he draws a gun …
  • or when giving a commentary on a sports event or public function.
  • … but Nadal sees it. He runs up to the net and smashes the ball.
We can also use the present simple for planned future actions with a time adverb, for example to talk about travel plans and timetables. See Future reference for more about future reference.
  • The train leaves at 10.40 a.m. and arrives at 3.30 p.m.
We use the present simple in conditional sentences about real possibilities that affect the future. See Conditional clauses for more on conditional sentences.
  • If I lend you my notes, I won’t be able to revise tonight.

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