English Grammar: Present Simple

We use the present simple when we want to talk about,

Things we do regularly/often

Things that are true/facts

To tell someone how to do something

To talk about timetables/schedules

 

When do we use the present simple and what does it look like?

 

Present simple form

positive                       negative       

I               work                 I                do not (don’t)           work

You          work                 You          do not (don’t)           work

He            works               He            does not (doesn’t)   work

She          works               She          does not (doesn’t)   work

It              works               It               does not (doesn’t)   work

We           work                 We           do not (don’t)           work

They        work                 They        do not (don’t)           work

 

 Present simple function

Things we do regularly or as a habit.

I get up at six during the week but at the weekend I don’t get up until 7.30.

She plays tennis every Thursday evening.

We always go skiing in the winter but we don’t always take the children.

He usually walks to work because he doesn’t have a car.

We visit our parents twice a week.

 

Talk about things that are true/facts.

I live in England.

The moon goes round the earth.

They are both doctors.

That clock is broken.

He works for a bank.

I like chocolate but I don’t like cake.

I don’t want to go to out tonight. I don’t feel very well.

 

Tell someone how to do something.

 How to make a sandwich.

Take two pieces of bread. Spread butter on one side of each slice.

Put ham, cheese, salad etc. on one slice. Lay the second slice on top.

Cut into two and you have a sandwich. Enjoy!

 

Talk about timetables or schedules.

The bus leaves Bristol at 8.00 and arrives in Bath at 8.50.

The train departs (leaves) at 19.30.

My flight lands in Hong Kong early evening on the 31st.

The meetings are on Tuesday and Friday at 10 am.

My job interview is next week on Thursday.

 

Questions in the present simple using auxiliary verb ‘do’.

Do I work?

Do you work?

Does he/she/it work?

Do we work?

Do they work?

 

These type of questions are yes or no questions. The answers often have a ‘tag’.

 

Tags

 

Do I like cheese?                    Yes, I do    or    No, I do not (don’t)

Do you like cheese?               Yes, I do    or    No, I do not (don’t)

Does he like cheese?             Yes, he does    or    No, he does not (doesn’t)

Does she like cheese?           Yes, she does    or No, she does not (doesn’t)

Do we like cheese?                Yes, we do    or    No, we do not (don’t)

Do they like cheese?             Yes, they do    or    No, we do not (don’t)

We use the longer form (do not) in formal situations or when writing and we use the shorter form (the contractions – don’t, doesn’t) when speaking or writing to friends.

Important: When asking present simple questions we do not add ‘s’ to the verb.

However, the auxiliary verb ‘do’ changes.

Compare:

Do you like Batman films?

Does he like Batman films?

Yes, he really likes Batman films.

No, he doesn’t like them at all.

 

Present simple questions.

 

Do I need to book the restaurant?

No, you don’t. They are never busy at this time of day.

 

Do you know my sister?

Yes, I do. We met at your birthday party last May.

 

Does she like coffee?

Yes, she does but she prefers tea.

 

Does the bank open at nine?

No, it doesn’t. It opens at ten.

 

Do they work in the same building?

No, they don’t.

 

Do you live in a big city?

No, I live in a small town.

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