English grammar

Verb tense - Simple Present


Simple Present


[VERB]+ s/es in third person

The third person singular in regular verbs in English is distinguished by the suffix -s. In English spelling, this -sis added to the stem of the infinitive form: runruns.

If the base ends in one of the sibilant sounds: /s/, /z/, /ʃ/, /ʒ/, /tʃ/, /dʒ/ and its spelling does not end in a silent E, the suffix is written -es: buzzbuzzes; catchcatches. If the base ends in a consonant plus y, the y changes to an i and -es is affixed to the end: crycries. Verbs ending in o typically add -es: vetovetoes.


  • Affirmative:He writes
  • Negative:He does not write
  • Interrogative:Does he write?
  • Negative interrogative:Does he not write?
Affirmative Negative Interrogative
I swim.
You swim.
We swim.
They swim.
He swims.
She swims.
It swims.
I do not swim.
You do not swim.
We do not swim.
They do not swim.
He does not swim.
She does not swim.
It does not swim.
Do I swim?
Do you swim?
Do we swim?
Do they swim?
Does he swim?
Does she swim?
Does it swim?

Repeated Actions

Use the Simple Present to express the idea that an action is repeated or usual. The action can be a habit, a hobby, a daily event, a scheduled event or something that often happens. It can also be something a person often forgets or usually does not do.


  • I play golf.
  • She does not play tennis.
  • Does he play basketball?
  • The airplane leaves every morning at 7 AM.
  • The train does not leave at 12 AM.
  • When does the train usually leave?
  • She always forgets her purse.
  • He never forgets his wallet.
  • Every twelve months, the Earth circles the Sun.


Facts or Generalizations

The Simple Present can also indicate the speaker believes that a fact was true before, is true now, and will be true in the future. It is not important if the speaker is correct about the fact. It is also used to make generalizations about people or things.


  • Cats like milk.
  • Dogs do not like cats.
  • Do pigs like milk?
  • Barcelna is in Spain.
  • Spain is not in the United Kingdom.
  • Windows are made of glass.

Scheduled Events in the Near Future

Speakers occasionally use Simple Present to talk about scheduled events in the near future. This is most commonly done when talking about public transportation, but it can be used with other scheduled events as well.


  • The train leaves tonight at 7 PM.
  • The bus does not arrive at 11 AM, it arrives at 11 PM.
  • When do we board the plane?
  • The party starts at 8 o'clock.
  • When does class begin tomorrow?
  • Shegoesto Milwaukee on Tuesday.

Now (Non-Continuous Verbs)

Speakers sometimes use the Simple Present to express the idea that an action is happening or is not happening now. This can only be done with Non-Continuous Verbs and certain Mixed Verbs.


  • I am here now.
  • She is not here now.
  • He needs help right now.
  • He does not need help now.
  • He has his passport in his hand.
  • Do you have your passport with you?
  • She thinks that beavers are remarkable


The examples below show the placement for grammar adverbs such as: always, only, never, ever, still, just, etc.


  • You only speak English.
  • Do you only speak English?



  • Once a week, Tom cleans the car.Active
  • Once a week, the car is cleaned by Tom.Passive


The present simple has an intensive or emphatic form with "do": He does write. In the negative and interrogative forms, of course, this is identical to the non-emphatic forms. It is typically used as a response to the question Does he write, whether that question is expressed or implied, and says that indeed, he does write.

The different syntactic behavior of the negative particle not and the negative inflectional suffix-n't in the interrogative form is also worth noting. In formalliterary Englishof the sort in which contractions are avoided,not attaches itself to the main verb:Does he not write? When the colloquial contraction -n't is used, this attaches itself to the auxiliary do:Doesn't he write?

To Have

The verb "have" is irregular in positive, third-person forms. This irregular form has been marked below with an asterisk*.

Positive Negative Question
I have.
You have.
We have.
They have.
He has. *
She has. *
It has. *
I do not have.
You do not have.
We do not have.
They do not have.
He does not have.
She does not have.
It does not have.
Do I have?
Do you have?
Do we have?
Do they have?
Does he have?
Does she have?
Does it have?

To Be

The verb "be" is irregular in the Simple Present. It also has different question forms and negative forms.

Positive Negative Question
I am.
You are.
We are.
They are.
He is.
She is.
It is.
I am not.
You are not.
We are not.
They are not.
He is not.
She is not.
It is not.
Am I?
Are you?
Are we?
Are they?
Is he?
Is she?
Is it?

Modal Verbs

Modal verbs behave differently from other verbs. Notice that they do not take "s" in the third person - there is no difference between first-person, second-person or third-person forms. Like the verb "be" described above, modal verbs also have different question forms and negative forms in Simple Present.

Positive Negative Question
I should go.
You should go.
We should go.
They should go.
He should go.
She should go.
It should go.
I should not go.
You should not go.
We should not go.
They should not go.
He should not go.
She should not go.
It should not go.
Should I go?
Should you go?
Should we go?
Should they go?
Should he go?
Should she go?
Should it go?