The simple present tense takes one of two forms
depending on the subject.
He, She, It
Subjects followed by verb in base form:
Subjects with verb in ?s form:
I like rice.
She makes toys.
boys ring the doorbell.
Children sing on special occasions.
Smith fills crates.
people bring gifts to parties.
Grandpa washes plates.
sting when they are disturbed.
dog jumps gates.
1. Jerry (come/comes) to school on time.
2. Jerry and Linda (come/comes) to school on time.
3. Ms. Jones (teach/teaches) geography.
4. The cat (sleep/sleeps) on the sofa every day.
5. Milk (cost/costs) two dollars a quart.
Use the simple present tense to indicate:
1. Routine actions
brushes his teeth every morning.
Hawaii is in the Pacific Ocean
usually drives to work.
birds fly south for the winter.
teacher grades homework on Fridays.
consists of hydrogen and oxygen.
2. Using "was" with verbs in
the past tense.
It was happened one night in September.
happened on night in September.
Note how the present tense
is used in the following paragraph.
Mr. Lee is a bus driver. Every day
he gets up at 7:00 a.m. and prepares for his day. He
showers, eats his breakfast, and puts on his uniform. His
wife drives him to the station where he checks in with his
supervisor. Then, he gets on Bus #405 and starts the engine.
He pulls out of the parking lot and begins his route. At his
first stop, he picks up Mrs. Miller, who lives in a red
house on the corner of Main Street and Seventh Avenue. She
works at the post office and has to be to work by 9:00. At
the next stop, the Bartlett twins get on the bus. They
attend class at Bayside Elementary. More children get on at
the next three stops, and they ride until the bus reaches
their school. Mr. Lee enjoys seeing the kids every day and
is happy to see them again in the afternoon when he drives
them safely back home.
1. To practice the present tense,
reread the above paragraph, then try to repeat the main
ideas in your own words. Be sure to use the -s form of the
verb when the subject of a sentence is singular. Have a
partner listen to your speech and check for correct usage of
2. Tell whether the present tense is appropriate in the
1. Yesterday I go to Washington D.C.
Every day, Mr. Johnson cleans his living room.
They usually take the bus to the office.
Right now Susan eats her breakfast.
Melinda and Harry work in the bank.
Common Mistakes with the
simple present tense
1. Not using the -s
form with singular subjects:
Jack likes Chinese food.
like Chinese food.
2. Using the simple
present tense when another tense is required.