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Present simple

The present simple construction: base verb (say, tell) or ending in ‘s’ in the third person singular

Example verb: play

I play   We play
You play   You (guys) play
He/she/it plays   They play
(1) The present simple is used to talk about something that is factual and true in the present moment. 
  • He is twenty-five years old.
  • They are very excited about the journey this afternoon.
  • Anne is an engineer.
(2) We use the present simple to talk about something that is fixed for the future, especially when that something has a fixed date like an expression of time. 
  • Our college semester begins next week. 
  • She catches the train at the station at 21h. 
  • We head to Australia on Friday. 
  • James catches his train this Thursday at nine o’clock in the morning.
(3) We use the present simple to talk about facts. Any factual piece of information. 
  • Water boils at one-hundred degrees Celsius.
  • A match burns when being lighted.
  • The human mind is a very complex system.
(4) We use the present simple to talk about things that happen habitually, things that we do over and over again. Often, we use adverbs or expressions of frequency such as; never, sometimes, seldom, rarely, often, occasionally etc..
  • I seldom go to music class on Tuesday evenings.
  • She sometimes likes to dance the tango at the weekend.
  • I rarely play chess during the week.
  • Sally sometimes goes to her art’s class.
  • They never show up for class.

Reminder:

Remember that the adverb always goes after the subject and before the verb. But only with ordinary verbs and NOT with auxiliary verbs. 

With an ordinary verb:

1) I sleep sometimes on the sofa. ✗  2) I sometimes sleep on the sofa. ✓ 

With an auxiliary verb:

1)I always am here.

2) I am always here. ✓ 

(5) We use -do/does -don’t/doesn’t to form questions, negate answers and questions (where what and why) and to apply emphasis (negative or positive) in the present tense.  
Questions:
  • Where do you live? I live in Britain.
  • What does she do for a living? She is a teacher.
  • Why do they behave so strangely? I wouldn’t have a clue.
Negation:
  • don’t live in Paris, France.
  • She doesn’t like sweet food.
Emphasis: 
  • We use the auxiliary verb -do to emphasise in English. Emphasis in full detail
  • Do you go to work on Mondays? Yes, I do go to work on Mondays. (It is assumed that the recipient wants to emphasise the fact that he/she works on Mondays).
  • She does play volleyball every week night. (It is emphasised that she does indeed play volleyball every week night).
  • I do not have a problem with them. (to negate in the negative, we avoid using the contraction altogether for emphasis).
  • He does not study enough. (Here, there is more emphasis than say, ‘he doesn’t study enough.’

English Verbs – The Complete Guide

Lesson #17: Present simple

Explanation
  • Construction: base verb (example: know, say, tell) for all persons except the third person singular. Verbs with no ‘s’ in the third person singular include; most auxiliary verbs (can, could, may, must, should, have etc.) and other irregular verbs also.

Example verb: to know

I know   We know
You know   You (guys) know
He/she/it knows   They know
  • We use the present simple to talk about states and information that is true in the present moment.
  • We use the present simple to talk about facts.
  • The present simple is used to talk about habits, things that happen habitually.
  • The present simple is used to talk about the future, but only when the future has a fixed date (Saturday, tonight, at ten o’clock, tomorrow, this morning etc.)
Context
  • So, Barry1, what do you like to do in your free time?2
  • I love to read, travel, watch movies on Netflix and many more things.3 What about you, Peter?
  • Well, I’m a huge fan of football.4
  • Really? What team do you support?5
  • I actually support two teams, Chelsea and Real Madrid.6
  • Oh,7 how is so that you support one team from Spain and one team from the UK?
  • I’m not sure to be honest.8 I just really love both of them.9 Both teams are giants in the football world, and they each have their own style of play.
  • Interesting to hear. Anyhow, have you got any plans for this weekend?10
  • Not yet, although, I’m thinking of going to my local bar to see a football match.11 Do you want to come along?
  • Sure, that would be nice. Thanks for inviting me.
  • Don’t mention it.12
  • So, what time does the game start?
  • If I remember rightly, the game starts at six o’clock.13 Is that fine for you?
  • Yes, no problem at all. Ok, well, I will see you on Friday then?
  • Sure, see you later.
Analysis
  1. So, Barry. Remember, names of people are always capitalised.
  2. What do you like to do in your free time? The present simple, like is used with the auxiliary verb do to ask a question. We use the auxiliary verb do with ordinary verbs in English. In this case, the present simple is expressing a habitual action (free time).
  3. I love to read, travel, watch movies on Netflix and many more things. Here, the present simple ‘I love’ is used to express his habits (travel, watch movies on Netflix).
  4. Well, I’m a huge fan of football. The present simple, I’m (I am) is describing information that is true in the present moment, which is the fact that he’s, a huge fan of football.
  5. What team do you support? The present simple, support is used with the auxiliary verb do to ask a question (because ‘support’ is an ordinary verb). Here, a state is being expressed.
  6. I actually support two teams, Chelsea and Real Madrid. ‘Support’ forms the present simple here, and it expresses a habitual action/state.
  7. Oh: This word is an interjection and doesn’t have any grammatical meaning. It just expresses surprise in this particular example.
  8. I’m not sure to be honest. The present simple ‘I’m not (I am not), is expressing his current state.
  9. I just really love both of them. ‘Love’ is an ordinary verb being used in the present simple, and it’s describing a state.
  10. Anyhow, have you got any plans for this weekend? The main auxiliary verb have is used to talk about the fixed future ‘this weekend’, and it is also in the present simple.
  11. I’m thinking of going to my local bar to see a football match. The present continuous ‘I’m thinking’ is being used to describe a continuous action in the moment.
  12. Don’t mention it. This is an informal way of saying ‘you’re welcome’.
  13. If I remember rightly, the game starts at six o’clock. The present simple (remember) is describing the future with a fixed date (as six o’clock). Remember, we can use the present simple to talk about the future, but only when there’s also a fixed date, i.e. Monday, Sunday, at two o’clock etc.

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