Grammar Guide – Present Simple

Present Simple

We use the Present Simple Tense to talk describe things, to talk about facts, things we like or don’t like, things that happen regularly, to talk about present states and to give general opinions.

Present Simple – an introduction

Si usa il Present Simple per dire qualcosa che è vero in generale, o per parlare di situazioni o azioni ricorrenti. Anche in Italiano, in questi casi, si usa la forma semplice del presente (faccio, lavoro, mi piace, ecc). – The Present Simple Tense is used to describe things, to talk about facts, habits or things which happen regularly, to talk about present states and also to give general opinions.

  • My car is red (description)
  • My son is 14 years old (fact / state)
  • I work in a bank (fact / state)
  • Malta is very hot in the summer (fact / describing a noun)
  • The train station is in Via Marconi (fact)
  • Paolo speaks Italian, English and French (fact)
  • I am very thirsty. I need a drink! (state / fact)
  • ‘The green mile’ is a very good book (opinion)

We can use the present simple to talk about our habits and how often we do something:

  • I go to the cinema every week.
  • I don’t eat pasta often.
  • I drink a cup of coffee every morning.


In questions (interrogative), the present is often used with the auxiliary verb ‘do’ (do / does).
Le forme interrogative del Present Simple si construiscono con ‘do’ seguito dal soggetto e dal verbo all’infinito senza ‘to’. Alla terza persona si usa ‘does’ invece di ‘do’.

  • Does your mother like flowers?
  • Do you live in Rome?

Negative form
La forma negativa del Present Simple si costruisce con ‘don’t / doesn’t’ + verbo. – In negative statements and questions we use the negative form of the auxiliary verb ‘do’ (don’t / doesn’t)

  • I do not (don’t) work on Saturdays.
  • She does not (doesn’t) like Jazz.

After Conjunctions
After the conjunctions (when, as soon as) and speaking about the future, or thinsg that happen often, we use the present (even if the sentence refers to actions in the future)

  • When I finish work, I will call you.
  • I’m going to bed as soon as I finish this exercise.
  • I always lock the door when I go out.

Actions in progress
We do not use the present simple to talk about things or events in progress. For this, we use the Present Continuous.
For example:

  • He is reading a book.  (Not: He reads a book.)
  • I am cooking dinner.  (Not:  I cook dinner.)

Forming the Present Simple

In English, most forms of the present simple use the verb infinitive (without ‘to’). The exception is for the third person singular.

Conjugation for the third person singular (he, she, it)

If the verb ends with a consonant, we add ‘-s‘ to the end of the infinitive (I like…..He likes).
If the verb ends with a vowel or with ‘ch’ or ‘sh’, we add ‘-es‘ to the end of the infinitive   (I teach….He teaches)
If the verb ends with ‘consonant + y’ (for example, ‘to try’ or ‘to cry’) the ‘y’ is removed and we add ‘-ies‘ to the infinitive (I try….He tries)

To wash

  • I wash
  • you wash
  • he / she / it washes
  • we wash
  • they wash

To cry

  • I cry
  • you cry
  • he / she cries
  • we cry
  • they cry

To drive

  • I drive
  • you drive
  • he / she / it drivess
  • we drive
  • they drive

To go

  • I go
  • you go
  • he / she / it goes
  • we go
  • they go

Irregular Verbs in the Present Simple

The only irregular verbs in the present simple are ‘to have’ and ‘to be’, plus modal verbs.
To have

  • I have
  • you have
  • he / she has
  • we have
  • they have

To be

  • I am
  • you are
  • he / she is
  • we are
  • they are

Common time expressions used with the Present Simple

The words and expressions below are often used with the present simple. These words can tell you which tense to use.
Adverbs of frequency:

  • always
  • never
  • often
  • generally
  • frequently
  • usually
  • sometimes
  • seldom
  • rarely

Other common time expressions:

  • every day, every week, every year.. (etc)
  • once a week, twice a month, three times a day.. (etc)
  • on Tuesdays, on Fridays.. (etc)
  • after school.. after work…
  • at the weekends..