Simple Present Tense

When to Use It

Use the simple present tense to indicate facts:

Water consists of hydrogen and oxygen.
Many birds fly south for the winter.
Hawaii is in the Pacific Ocean.

Use the simple present tense to indicate routine actions or habits.

John brushes his teeth every day.
Carol usually drives to work.
On weekdays the Robinsons eat at 7:00.

Use simple present tense with non-action verbs in present time..

Calvin likes chocolate chip cookies.
That casserole smells delicious.
I think that Mr. Penrod is very nice.

How to make it

The simple present tense takes on one of two forms depending on the subject of the sentence.
Use the -s form with third person singular and non-count nouns. Use the base form with others.

Subject
I, you
We, they
Plural nouns
He, she, it
Singular nouns
Non-count nouns
Base form
eat
work
go
-s form
eats
goes
works

See the Verb List for example forms of verbs.

Common mistakes with simple present tense

Forgetting to add -s with third person singular subjects.


Wrong
Jerry live on Maple Street.
She love chocolate ice cream.
Mr. Taft leave at 8:00 every day.
Right
Jerry lives on Maple Street.
She loves chocolate ice cream.
Mr. Taft leaves at 8:00 every day.

Using other verbs in present tense situations.


Wrong
Canada was a country in North America.
Doctors worked in hospitals.
Right
Canada is a country in North America.
Doctors work in hospitals (in general).

Using "be" verbs along with present tense verbs.


Wrong
He is come from South Carolina.
The Swensons are live in New Jersey.
Right
He comes from South Carolina
The Swensons live in New Jersey.

Click here for Simple Present Tense Quiz.
See also:

Present Tense Questions
Simple Past Tense
Present Progressive Tense
Non-Action Verbs

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