Simple Present Tense - Learn Definition, Structure, Rules, Uses and Examples

Did someone just ask you what you do when you get back home from school everyday? You would definitely know that you should use the simple present tense to answer a question of this nature. Maybe this article on simple present tense can help you learn how to use the tense accurately. This article discusses the definition of simple present tense, its structure, uses and rules along with examples and practice questions to help you understand well.

Table of Contents

The Simple Present Tense

The simple present tense is employed in a sentence to represent an action or event that takes place, or just happened in the given context at the present moment. The simple present is also called as the present indefinite tense

Definition of Simple Present Tense

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, the simple present tense form of the verb in a sentence is defined as “the tense that is used to refer to events, actions, and conditions that are happening all the time, or exist now.” The Cambridge Dictionary gives a much more elaborate definition of the simple present tense. According to them, “the present tenses of a verb are the ones that are used to talk about things that happen regularly or situations that exist at this time. The simple present tense uses the base form or the ‘s’ form of a verb, as in ‘I play tennis twice a week’ and ‘She works in a bank’.”

Structure of the Simple Present Tense

The structure of the simple present tense can be understood by analysing the positive, negative, interrogative and negative interrogative forms of the tense. Have a look at the following simple present tense structure chart so that you can understand easily how it works.

Structure of Simple Present Tense

Positive

Negative

Interrogative

Negative Interrogative

Subject + Verb in the base form/third person plural form

Subject + Do not/Don’t/Does not/Doesn’t + Verb in the base form/third person plural form

Do/Does + Subject + Verb

Don’t/Doesn’t + Subject + Verb

Example: You look beautiful.

She looks beautiful.

Example: You do not look beautiful.

She does not look beautiful.

Example: Do you look beautiful?

Does she look beautiful?

Example: Don’t you look beautiful?

Doesn’t she look beautiful?

Rules and Points to Remember When Using the Simple Present Tense

In order to use the simple present tense accurately and effectively, there are some rules and points you have to keep in mind. This is because of the fact that the sentence or the context would not make sense if the verb does not agree with the subject in the sentence.

  • The first thing that you should understand about the simple present tense is that the verb mostly appears in the base form.
  • This changes when a third person pronoun or subject is used in a sentence. In this case, the verb used should be made plural.

What Do You Use the Simple Present Tense For?

The present tense can be used for various purposes. The following are the functions of the present tense.

  • Used to quote general truths and scientific facts.
  • Used to denote habitual actions that happen on a daily basis or at regular intervals.
  • Used to indicate unchanging events.
  • Used to give directions or instructions
  • Used to speak about fixed arrangements
  • Used along with future constructions

Forming the Simple Present Tense – Examples

To show you how sentences are formed using the simple present tense and how they are employed for various purposes, here are a few examples.

Indicating General Truths and Scientific Facts

  • The Sun sets in the west.
  • Hydrogen is the first element in the periodic table.
  • Rome is the capital of Italy.

Indicating Habitual or Repeated Actions

  • Everyday, I go to work by bus.
  • The firm publishes their company magazine every month.
  • Do you attend class regularly?

Giving Directions or Instructions

  • Take right from the junction to reach the hospital.
  • Close the door when you come in.
  • Come home as soon as possible.

Speaking about Fixed Arrangements

  • My brother’s flight arrives around 5 p.m.
  • Our summer vacation starts on the 16th of April.
  • Her cousin arrives tomorrow.

Using with Future Constructions

  • I will meet you before you leave.
  • Karishma will let you know when Sandhya arrives.
  • He will give it to Sam when he comes home.

Test Your Understanding of Simple Present Tense

Fill in the blanks with the right form of the verb given in the brackets in the following sentences:

1. Do you _______ (watch) English movies?

2. I _____ (read) a lot of short stories.

3. Geetha _____ (be) a doctor.

4. Deena, Priya and Shanti _____ (be) friends.

5. He _____ (go-negative) to work regularly.

6. ______ (be) you the one who came to get the stationery for the competition?

7. _______ (take) left after the petrol bunk on the right.

8. Please _______ (switch) off the fans when you ______ (leave).

9. ______ (give) it to him when he ________ (arrive).

10. Harry told me that he will meet me before I _____ (leave) for Chennai.

Find out if you have used the right form of the verb from the following sentences.

1. Do you watch English movies?

2. I read a lot of short stories.

3. Geetha is a doctor.

4. Deena, Priya and Shanti are friends.

5. He doesn’t go to work regularly.

6. Are you the one who came to get the stationery for the competition?

7. Take left after the petrol bunk on the right.

8. Please switch off the fans when you leave.

9. Give it to him when he arrives.

10. Harry told me that he will meet me before I leave for Chennai.

Frequently Asked Questions on Simple Present Tense

What do you mean by simple present tense?

The simple present tense is employed in a sentence to represent an action or event that takes place, or just happened in the given context at the present moment.

What is the definition of simple present tense?

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, the simple present tense form of the verb in a sentence is defined as “the tense that is used to refer to events, actions, and conditions that are happening all the time, or exist now.” The Cambridge Dictionary gives a much more elaborate definition of the simple present tense. According to them, “the present tenses of a verb are the ones that are used to talk about things that happen regularly or situations that exist at this time. The simple present tense uses the base form or the ‘s’ form of a verb, as in ‘I play tennis twice a week’ and ‘She works in a bank’.”

What are the rules to be followed when using the simple present tense?

There are two main rules you have to follow when using the simple present tense. They are:

  • The first thing that you should understand about the simple present tense is that the verb mostly appears in the base form.
  • This changes when a third person pronoun or subject is used in a sentence. In this case, the verb used should be made plural.

What is the formula of the simple present tense?

The basic formula of a positive sentence using the simple present tense is as follows:
Subject + Verb in the base form/third person plural form + the rest of the sentence

Give some examples of simple present tense.

Here are a few examples of the simple present tense that you can refer to.

  • Do you have ice cream for dessert?
  • I do not want anything now.
  • Deepak writes short poems.
  • Meera is a good actress.
  • You are a very kind person.