In the English language, we have two ways of talking about present actions: the present simple and the present continuous.

Depending on the text book you use, you may have heard present simple and present continuous (British English) or simple present and present progressive (American English). Regardless of the name you give it, the concept is universal.

Present Simple:

Positive/Affirmative:

Example: “I play tennis every Saturday.”

Use: To talk about regular activities/habits in the present.

pres simple

Tennis is something I do regularly (every Saturday) so I use the present simple to say this.

FormSubject (I) + Verb (play) + Object (tennis)

I/You/We/They/You (plural) play tennis.

He/She/It plays tennis.

Negative:

Example: “I don’t play tennis.”

FormSubject (I) + Auxiliary (do not) + Verb (play) + Object (tennis)

I/You/We/They/You (plural) don’t play tennis.

He/She/It doesn’t play tennis.

→NOTE: To make a negative in any simple tense in English we don’t change the main verb but the auxiliary verb we put before it.

Interrogative/Question Form:

Example: Do you play tennis?

FormAuxiliary (Do) + Subject (you) + Verb (play)

Do you/we/they/you (plural)/I play tennis?

Does he/she/it play tennis?

→NOTE: To make a question in any simple tense in English we don’t change the main verb but the auxiliary verb we put before it.

Other uses of Present Simple:

Generally true statements: The sun rises in the east.

Instructions and directions: You follow the street to the church, then turn left.

With stative verbs: I am happy. I feel great. I admire her artwork. (There will be an article on stative verbs soon).

Timetables and schedules: The train leaves at 15.06. (More about this when we look at the future tenses).

Continue to Present Continuous →