Uses of the simple present tense

June 30, 2010pdf

Form: subject + first form of the verb

  1. I write.
  2. He writes.
  3. She writes.
  4. You write.
  5. They write.

Carefully notice the marker -s in the second and third sentences. When the subject is a singular verb we add the marker -s to the verb in a simple present tense.

The simple present tense is used to talk about a habitual action.

  • He gets up at 8 am.
  • He drinks tea in the morning.
  • She keeps her home neat and tidy.

General truths

The simple present tense can be used to talk about general truths.

  • Honey is sweet.
  • The sun rises in the east.
  • Fortune favors the brave.

In exclamatory sentences beginning with here and there

The simple present tense is used in exclamatory sentences beginning with here and there to express what is actually happening in the present.

  • There goes your husband!
  • Here comes the bus!

Future events that are part of a time table

The simple present tense is used to talk about future events that are part of a fixed timetable.

  • The train leaves at 6 pm.
  • The match starts at 9 o’clock.
  • The next flight is at 6:30 tomorrow morning.

Note also the other uses of the simple present tense.

1) to introduce quotations

  • Keats says, ‘A thing of beauty is a joy for ever.’

2) in clauses of time and condition

  • I will call you when dinner is ready. (NOT I will call you when dinner will be ready.)
  • I will go abroad after I finish my studies. (NOT I will go abroad after I will finish my studies.)

3) in broadcast commentaries

In broadcast commentaries on sporting events, the simple present tense is used instead of the present continuous tense to talk about activities in progress.

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