Some of my students and business clients in Japan have trouble using English verbs in the simple present tense. Using different verb tenses can be difficult in your second language. This post is a complete guide that will help you to sound like a native speaker.
We use the simple present tense to talk about things we do regularly, facts that are always true, and things that are permanent.
“We go camping every summer.” GO is in the simple present tense. We are describing a regular activity.
Keep reading for more practical examples and clear explanations. Learn which sentence subjects need an S or an ES added to the end of the present tense verb. PLUS there’s a free PDF worksheet at the end of this post so you can start using this grammar in your own English conversations. (Great for other English teachers too! Use these worksheets with your students.)
Present Simple English Verbs
We use the simple present tense to talk about things that happen regularly, often, or are true in general.
“It rains a lot in April.” → This is generally true.
“I wake up at 7:00 am every day.” → I always wake up at 7:00, I do it regularly.
*(wake up is a phrasal verb – wake is in the simple present tense)
- “This bus stops at Tokyo station.” → The bus follows a route (path) and regularly stops at Tokyo station.
- “We go camping every summer.” → This is a regular event. It happens every summer.
- “Dave teaches English.” → This is my job so I do it regularly, I do it often.
Sentences with First Person Singular (he, she, and it) subjects will add an S or an ES to the end of the verb.
“She plays the drums.”
“Jacob watches baseball every Monday at the park.”
*proper names like Jacob, Christine, etc. follow the he/she rule*
“My car (it) sounds strange. I will take it to the garage.”
The subjects I, you, they, and we do not need an S or an ES.
- “I play the drums.”
- “They watch baseball every Monday at the park.”
- “You sound strange. Do you have a sore throat?
10 examples of Present Tense verbs
- I wake up at 7 o’clock every morning.
- She works as a teacher in an elementary school.
- They live in a small apartment near the city center.
- He enjoys playing soccer with his friends on weekends.
- The bus arrives at the bus stop every 30 minutes.
- We often eat dinner together as a family.
- The sun sets in the west.
- Dogs bark when they sense danger.
- He usually drinks 2 cups of coffee in the morning.
- She goes to the gym three times a week to stay fit.
Questions and Negative Statements
We use the auxiliary (helper) verb DO/DOES to ask questions and to make negative statements in the simple present tense.
“Do you know what time it is?”
“Does Arnold Schwarzenegger live in LA?”
“I don’t know what time it is.”
“Arnold Schwarzenegger doesn’t live in Seattle.”
We can combine these 2 grammar points to make negative questions too.
- “Don’t you like pizza?”
- “Doesn’t Patrick like pizza?”
*Remember that the auxiliary verb changes with your subject but the main verb does not.
“Doesn’t Patrick like pizza?”
NOT “Doesn’t Patrick
Writing English Simple Present Tense
3rd person singular
For the 3rd person singular – He, She, It – the following verbs are written with ES
Verbs ending with ss
miss – misses – “Kathy is sad, she misses
her family back home.”
kiss – kisses – “My Mom kisses my baby brother every night before he goes to sleep
Verbs ending with o
do – does
A: “My friend always draws funny pictures in his notebook.”
B: “My brother does that too.”
go – goes – “My Mom my baby brother every night before he goes to sleep.”
Verbs ending with sh or ch
brush – brushes – “Jenny brushes her teeth for 20 minutes every night before bed.”
match – matches – “This tie is perfect! It matches my shirt.”
Verbs ending with x
fix – fixes – “Alex fixes the computers in his office.”
Verbs ending with y – The y will change to an i before adding es
fly – flies – “A bat flies through the night sky.”
try – tries – “Howard is not the best player on the team, but he tries hard.”
Bruce doesn’t take his computer on vacation. He never MIXES business and pleasure.
How are you going to use this new verb grammar? Tell us in the comments.
Present Tense QUIZ
Fill in the blanks using a verb from the list below. Write the correct form of the present tense.
[play] [speak] [wake] [bring] [start] [brush] [work] [spend] [save] [drink] [speak] [buy] [like] [go] [take] [live] [like] [prepare] [spend] [work]
My friend Martin ______ very close to me. It only ______ 15 minutes to get there by bicycle. He ______ English, French, and Japanese. I can only ______ a little Japanese. (My French is worse!)
Mike ______ lunch every week. I think he ______ too much money. I ______ lunch at home and ______ it to work, it ______ money.
I don’t ______ alcohol, but I have one bad habit. I ______ too many video games.
Richard: Do you ______ opera? I have 2 tickets for Friday’s show, it ______ at 9:00.
Francis: Sorry, I ______ on Friday nights. Ask Kyle, he ______ the opera, and he doesn’t ______ on Friday nights.
I think the government ______ too much money on things that are not important.
Steve ______ his teeth every night before bed. He ______ to bed at 10:00 and ______ up at 6:00 during the week.
Download the printable PDF version of the quiz HERE.
Perfect for teachers to use with their own students.
Free PDF Simple Present Tense Verbs worksheet
Download your free printable 3-page PDF worksheet. Practice making your own present tense sentences with helpful prompts to help you talk about your own life.
Check out these other helpful blog posts!
- Master the Simple Present Tense: #1 Guide to English Verbs *Free PDF
- Understanding Continuous Tense: Your Guide to English Verbs (PDF)
- Future Tense Verbs – Your #1 Guide (Free PDF worksheet)
- 20 NOUNS that you didn’t know have a VERB form
- Past tense of READ and Past Participle of READ (Audio, Quiz, and PDF)
- Third-Person Singular – Your best Guide (Free 24-page eBook)
My friend Martin lives very close to me. It only takes 15 minutes to get there by bicycle. He speaks English, French, and Japanese. I can only speak a little Japanese. (My French is worse!)
Mike buys lunch every week. I think he spends too much money. I prepare lunch at home and bring it to work, it saves money.
I don’t drink alcohol, but I have one bad habit. I play too many video games.
Richard: Do you like opera? I have 2 tickets for Friday’s show, it starts at 9:00.
Francis: Sorry, I work on Friday nights. Ask Kyle, he loves the opera, and he doesn’t work on Friday nights.
I think the government spends too much money on things that are not important.
Steve brushes his teeth every night before bed. He goes to bed at 10:00 and wakes up at 6:00 during the week.