Present Simple

Present Simple Grammar Guide


Subject + Verb + Object

The present simple verb structure in English is the infinitive with exception of the third person singular, which is commonly the Infinitive + S.

Jenny likes pizza

Henry doesn't like pasta

What do you like?



Do/does not + INF


Do/does + subj + INF....?


We DO NOT use the Present Simple to talk about the PRESENT

                         I cannot answer the phone, I am cooking dinner

                         NOT: I cook dinner

NOTE: The facts/permanent situations we talk about using the present simple are true in the present but we are not referring to the present, we are talking about the truth.


We use the Present Simple to:

  • talk about habitual activities, often with adverbs of frequency


                           He always plays football on Saturdays

                           We go to the cinema every Wednesday

  • talk about facts/permanent situations/truths

                           They live in England

                           It rains a lot in Scotland

                           I am a teacher

  • talk about/give opinions

                           I like pizza

                          We think that is a good idea

                           Do you like football?

Further topics

Further functions of the Present Simple here


Difference between Present Simple and Present Continuous here

Stative and Dynamic verbs here


In general verbs in the present simple are almost universally regular. There are four verbs that are irregular in the present simple.

These four verbs are fundamental to everyday language use. Only to be is irregular to any standard. The other three verbs simply have an adaptation of the third person S structure.

Please note that to be, to do and to have are auxiliary verbs while to go is a normal verb so in the negative form requires the use of the auxiliary verb

I                   DO     (DO NOT/DON'T)

You              DO     (DO NOT/DON'T)


We              DO     (DO NOT/DON'T)

You             DO     (DO NOT/DON'T)

They           DO     (DO NOT/DON'T)

to be

I                    AM     (AM NOT)

You              ARE   (ARE NOT/AREN'T)

He/She/It     IS      (IS NOT/ISN'T)

We              ARE   (ARE NOT/AREN'T)

You             ARE   (ARE NOT/AREN'T)

They           ARE   (ARE NOT/AREN'T)

to have

I                   HAVE (HAVE NOT/HAVEN'T)

You              HAVE (HAVE NOT/HAVEN'T)


We              HAVE (HAVE NOT/HAVEN'T)

You             HAVE (HAVE NOT/HAVEN'T)

They           HAVE (HAVE NOT/HAVEN'T)

to go

I                  GO     (DO NOT GO/DON'T GO)

You             GO     (DO NOT GO/DON'T GO)


We              GO     (DO NOT GO/DON'T GO)

You             GO     (DO NOT GO/DON'T GO)

They           GO     (DO NOT GO/DON'T GO)

Spelling notes

As already stated, most verbs do not change from the infinitive except adding an S for the third person singular. This has the following minor exceptions for spelling:

to do

INFINITIVES ending in -ch, -ss, -sh, -x or -zz, we add -es

watch - watches

miss - misses

wash- washes

mix - mixes

buzz - buzzes

INFINITIVES ending in a consonant + -y, we change y to i and add -es

But when the verb ends in a vowel + -y we simply add -s

hurry - hurries

study - studies

reply - replies

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