What is the present simple tense?

The present simple tense is a verb tense used to show general truths.

For affirmative statements, the present simple tense uses one of two verb forms.  For all subjects (except 3rd person singular subjects) the base verb form is used.   For 3rd person singular subjects, an –s is added to the end of the base verb. 

Questions and negative statements in the present simple tense use only the base form of the verb.

The verb “to Be” has three forms in the present tense and will be explained here.


Simple Present verb forms:  to like, to walk, to play

Singular 1st Person

  1. like
  2. I walk
  3. play

Singular 2nd Person

  1. You like
  2. You walk
  3. You play

Singular 3rd Person

  1. He likes
  2. She walks
  3. It plays

Plural 1st Person

  1. We like
  2. We walk
  3. We play

Plural 2nd Person

  1. You like
  2. You walk
  3. You play

Plural 3rd Person

  1. They like
  2. They walk
  3. They play

When do we use the present simple tense?

We use the present simple tense to show general truths.  General truths include things like habits, instructions, directions, and repeated actions. The present simple tense is NOT USED to express actions happening NOW.  The verb to Be” is often used in the present simple tense to express the state of things or the present condition, but not actions.

General Truths

  •  Ann makes good chicken.
  •  It rains in the spring.
  •  They argue all the time.


  • read every night.
  • Erik exercises every day.
  • We always get a late start.


  • Please come here.
  • Turn right at the light.
  • Go over there.

State/Present Condition

  • I am tired.
  • You are crazy!
  • The restaurant is closed.

Repeated Actions

  • You bite your nails a lot.
  • Marty plays tennis on Fridays.
  • They take the bus to school every day.

Questions/Present Simple

  • What are you like?
  • Do you love her?
  • Where is my hat?

What are the additional spelling rules for 3rd person singular?

For most regular verbs, simply add an -s to the base verb to form the 3rd person singular verb form.  There are some additional spelling rules.

For verbs ending in -h, -s, -x, -z, -ch, -sh & -o:
Add -es

  • go→goes
  • wash→washes
  • mix→mixes
  • cross→crosses

For verbs ending in consonant +-y:
Change the -y to -ies

  • try→tries
  • fry→fries
  • cry→cries
  • study→studies

What are examples of present simple negative statements?

For present simple negative statements with verbs other than to be, we use the helping verb to do and the word not.  The word does is the verb form for 3rd person singular subjects. 



  1. like pancakes.
  2.  You need a new toothbrush.
  3.  He wants  a car.
  4.  She travels in the winter.
  5. It rains a lot in April.
  6.  We play basketball in the gym.
  7.  They work at the grocery store.

Negative Statement

  1. do not like pancakes.
  2. You do not need a new toothbrush.
  3.  He does not want a car.
  4.  She does not travel in the winter.
  5.  It doesn’t rain a lot in July.
  6.  We do not play soccer in the gym.
  7.  They don’t work at the shoe store.

The base form of the main verb is used for all subjects.  That means we do not add an -s to the main verb to for 3rd person singular subjects. 

It is common to use contractions in negative statements.  The contraction for do and not is don’t.  The contraction for does and not is doesn’t.


do + not + base verb

does + not + base verb (3rd person singular)


do + not = don’t

does + not = doesn’t

For negative statements with the verb to be click here.

What are examples of present simple questions?

For present simple questions use the form: do + subject + base verbFor present simple questions with 3rd person singular subjects use the form does + subject + base verb

For questions with “to Be” click here.

Present Simple – Affirmative 

  1. I need a notebook.
  2. You buy the tickets here.
  3. He goes to George Washington High School.
  4. She sleeps in the upstairs bedroom.
  5. The dresser belongs to your brother.
  6. We pay at the ticket counter.
  7. They have a list for us.

Present Simple – Question

  1. Do I need a notebook?
  2. Do you buy the tickets here?
  3. Does he go to George Washington High School?
  4. Does she sleep in the upstairs bedroom?
  5. Does it belong to your brother?
  6. Do we pay at the ticket counter?
  7. Do they have a list for us?

How is the verb to be used in the present simple tense?

 The verb to Be” is irregular in its present tense form.  There are three forms  of to Be” in the present simple tense:  am, are, and is.

Singular 1st Person

  • am tall.

Singular 2nd Person

  • You are short.

Singular 3rd Person

  • He is happy.
  • She is sad.
  • It is ugly.

Plural 1st Person

  • We are late.

Plural 2nd Person

  • You are both wrong.

Plural 3rd Person

  • They are here.

What are examples of present simple negative statements with to be?

For all negative statements with to be” add NOT after the correct form of “to be”.

Present Simple – Affirmative – to Be

  1. I am tall.
  2. You are short.
  3. He is happy.
  4. She is sad 
  5. It is on the table.
  6. We are late.
  7. They are here.

Present Simple – Negative – to Be

  1. I am not tall.
  2. You are not short.
  3. He is not happy.
  4. She is not sad.
  5. It is not on the table.
  6. We are not late.
  7. They are not here.

What are examples of present simple questions with “to Be”?

 For present simple questions with “to Be” place the verb form before the subject.

Present Simple – Affirmative – to Be

  1. I am on the list.
  2. You are tired.
  3. He is friendly.
  4. She is from the United States.
  5. It is made of wood.
  6. We are the first ones here.
  7. They are with John.

Present Simple – Question- to Be

  1.  Am I on the list?
  2.  Are you tired?
  3.  Is he friendly?
  4.  Is she from the United States?
  5.  Is it made of wood?
  6.  Are we the first to arrive?
  7.  Are they with John?

What are good examples of the present simple tense?

More Examples of Present Simple Tense

  • I read every night.
  • Erik exercises every day.
  • He doesn’t want a truck.
  • They don’t work at the hospital.
  • Do I need a notebook?
  • Does it belong to your brother?
  • I am tall.
  • They are here.
  • He is not happy.
  • We are not late.
  • Are you tired?
  • Is she from the United States?

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