Pieces Of Advice Of Usage Present Simple Tense


If you want to write correctly, you need to understand the usage of all the tenses in English. Today we, the team of professional proofreaders and editors, want to talk to our readers about Present Simple (Indefinite). Sure enough, any difficulties shouldn't arise neither with creation of this tense, nor with its usage. In some textbooks, it is possible to see the name "Present Indefinite". Not be frightened – it is absolute the same, as Present Simple. Indefinite – means, uncertain, i.e. without some features which we want to give about this action.

Grammar is immensely interesting subject. And English Grammar is also not so difficult. Everyone can cope with it, if he has enough time and desire. You should realize that ignorance of grammar rules can even ruin your life!

We will begin with the way how Present Simple is formed. Here from the very beginning, small complexity traps you – tense of Present Simple looks differently for the verb "to be" and for all other verbs. Why is it such honor to the verb "to be"? Because it is the most widespread verb in English and therefore a lot of things will happen to him in a special way. But we will begin just with all other verbs.

Present Simple for all verbs, except the verb “to be”

In fact Present Simple is rather simple tense, and not only by the standards of English, but also by the standards of other languages. However, to estimate how easy everything is arranged in English language, we will take a step back and we will remember from school what a verb form is for first or third person for example. To make a long story short, there are different forms of verbs for different persons. For example, I look, you look, he looks, we look, she looks, they look, and it looks. It turns out, that in the Italian, Spanish and French languages – there are six different forms. In German it is a little simpler –only four forms. And now, attention – in English there are only two different forms!

So, for all persons and numbers, except he / she/it (i.e. for I, you, we, and they) we take that form which is written in the dictionary (infinitive). For example the verb "see", but for he / she/it we add "- s" (or "– es"): sees. That's all, there are only two forms and they are formed just elementary. Wouldn't you say, it is much simpler than in other languages?

  1. She wakes up immensely early every morning.
  2. We deal with it every year.
  3. He wants me to go to the college.
  4. I read many books per one year.
  5. It rains very often in Thailand.

You may use an easy-to-use table for Present Simple (Indefinite). You will find it here.

Present Simple for the verb “to be”

Now, slight fly in the ointment is this: there is one verb which in Present Simple becomes absolutely unlike the dictionary form. It is the verb "to be".

For sure you remember from school how you learned by heart "I – am, you – are, he/she/it – is, we – are, you – are, they – are". It is the verb to be in Present Simple. If you still don't know these forms – learn them by heart obligatorily. If there are things without which it is impossible to speak or write in English correctly, so this is one of them. However, these forms will occur in every second sentence. So it will be simple to remember them.

One more remark: the verb "to be" is often used in the short form when it merges with a noun in one word: I am = I’m, you are = you’re, he is = he’s. There is no difference between them, it is just more conveniently and quicker to say and to write.

  1. You’re beautiful. You’re beautiful. You’re beautiful, it’s true
  2. It’s my bad, do not touch it.
  3. They’re the most intelligent students.
  4. You’re my best friend.
  5. He’s my schoolmate.

When this simple time of Present Simple is used

Use of times in English is a difficult and many-sided theme, and, of course, these five cases of use of Present Simple aren't all the cases. However, these five cases will be suitable for the first idea of when it is necessary to use this time. Maybe you will find more information on the Oxford’s site.

1. General facts

Present Simple needs to be used for the general facts about life, which are always right. Whether it is the facts from physics and mathematics, which are known to all mankind, or the facts from personal experience which nobody knows (except you) – Present Simple will be suitable for all.

  1. Water boils at 100 degrees. But water freezes at subzero temperature.
  2. London is the capital of Great Britain. It is beautiful and big city.
  3. My dog’s name is Pretty. She is very friendly.
  4. Susan likes to travel all over the world.
  5. I have many hobbies. Singing is one of them.

2. Things and the phenomena which are more or less constant

Everything changes in our world and in our life, but if these changes are slow and they are noticeable not at once – you may use Present Simple for them:

  1. I’m an engineer, I work at the factory.

It is quite possible that, work at the factory won't continue for the rest of the life. However this is rather constant state.

  1. I’m 30 years old.

In spite of the fact that such statements are actual for about only one year, from the point of view of language is rather constant state, therefore and it is necessary to use Present Simple.

3. Regular events

Present Simple should be used for everything that happens regularly. Whether it happens at least once in a minute, or once in a year, or once in one thousand years.

  1. I get up at seven o’clock.
  2. We rob banks. (Bonnie and Clyde)
  3. Typical neutron star is two times heavier than our Sun and rotates spin around 642 times a second.
  4. Mommy cooks me a breakfast every morning.
  5. At the weekend me and my family spend time together.

4. Stories, films, books

If you retell the book, the story, or, for example, a joke, it is possible and it is necessary to do it in Present Simple. Even if these events (about which the story is) are irregular and changeable, anyway this is the way it is done in retellings.

  1. Harry Potter saga in one sentence: A boy wizard learns magic and fights the Dark Lord.
  2. A priest, minister, and a rabbi walk into a bar. The bartender looks at them and says, ‘What is this, joke?’ (In general, there is the whole series of jokes about a man walks into a bar).

5. Events in the future

A little more advanced case of the usage Present Simple. If you add to the sentence any reference to the future (Tomorrow, in a week, next year, etc.), then it is possible to use Present Simple to speak (or write) about events in the future. It is used for the planned events or events which take place regularly, according to the schedule.

  1. Tomorrow is Friday. Finally!
  2. My mother comes in several days, we should tide everything up.
  3. I fly away tomorrow, please hurry up.
  4. Tom buys a car next month. He is so happy!
  5. Melody celebrates her Birthday next Sunday. Do not forget to congratulate her!

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Kindly read our other articles, which can help you to improve your English grammar skills. For example, the article about usage of modal verbs in past and present tenses will be very useful for every student.

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