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Present Simple (A1-A2)

Introduction

The Present Simple tense is one of the most commonly used tenses in English. It is used to express habitual actions, general truths, and facts. This lesson will cover the form, meaning, and use of the Present Simple tense, including the verb “to be.”

1. Form

The Present Simple tense has different forms depending on the subject and whether the verb is the auxiliary verb “to be” or another main verb. Here’s a breakdown:

Main Verbs (excluding “to be”):

  • Affirmative: Subject + base form of the verb (add “s” or “es” for he, she, it).
  • Negative: Subject + do/does not + base form of the verb.
  • Question: Do/Does + subject + base form of the verb?

Verb “to be” (am, is, are):

  • Affirmative: Subject + am/is/are.
  • Negative: Subject + am/is/are not.
  • Question: Am/Is/Are + subject?

Tables

Subject Main Verb (Affirmative) Main Verb (Negative) Main Verb (Question) Verb “to be” (Affirmative) Verb “to be” (Negative) Verb “to be” (Question)
I play do not play Do I play? am am not Am I?
You play do not play Do you play? are are not Are you?
He/She/It plays does not play Does he play? is is not Is he?
We play do not play Do we play? are are not Are we?
You (plural) play do not play Do you play? are are not Are you?
They play do not play Do they play? are are not Are they?

2. Meaning

The Present Simple tense is used to describe:

  • Habitual actions: Things you do regularly or habits. Example: “I walk to school every day.”
  • General truths: Facts or things that are always true. Example: “Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius.”
  • Scheduled events (in the near future): Often used for timetables or schedules. Example: “The train leaves at 8 PM tonight.”

3. Use

  • To express routines or habits: Use the Present Simple to talk about things you do on a regular basis.

    Example: “She plays tennis on weekends.”

  • To state facts: Use it to express actions that are generally true or facts.

    Example: “The Earth revolves around the Sun.”

  • To discuss scheduled events in the near future: It’s commonly used in timetables or schedules.

    Example: “The meeting starts at 9 AM.”

  • To give instructions or directions: It is often used for instructions or directions because these are seen as universally true statements.

    Example: “You take the first left, then go straight on.”

Verb “to be”

The verb “to be” is an exception in the Present Simple tense because it changes form depending on the subject (I am, you are, he/she/it is, we are, they are). It is used:

  • To describe states or conditions: “I am happy.”
  • To indicate locations: “He is at the store.”
  • To describe characteristics: “They are tall.”

Exercises

  1. Fill in the blanks with the correct form of the verb in brackets (use Present Simple):
    • She __________ (to be) very smart.
    • They __________ (play) football every Sunday.
    • The sun __________ (rise) in the east.
    • He __________ (not, to be) interested in the offer.
    • __________ (you, to be) ready to go?
  2. Convert the following sentences into negative form:
    • I wake up early on weekdays.
    • She understands the problem.
    • They are my friends.
    • The bus arrives at 6 PM.
  3. Create questions from the following statements:
    • You speak Spanish.
    • He works late on Fridays.
    • They are in the garden.
    • The store opens at 9 AM.