Hi, I'm Rebecca. Welcome to this series on English tenses. In this class, we will look
at the present simple tense. I'll show you exactly when to use it, how to use it, and
also what mistakes to be careful of when you're using this tense. We'll also go through lots
of practice exercises together, so you'll learn exactly how to use this tense correctly
and confidently. Are you ready? Let's get started.
This series is about English tenses. But what are tenses anyway? Tenses are simply the way
we talk about time in English. What do we mean by time? We mean the past, the present,
the future, right? These are all different times and we have different tenses to express
or talk about those times. So, in this lesson, we're going to look at the two basic ways
that you - we can speak about the present in English and they are: the present simple
and the present continuous, or present progressive as it's also called.
Now, although we are focusing on the present simple, I want to give you a little overview
so you understand the basic differences between these two simple tenses, alright? So, let
me give you an example. In present simple, we would say "I work". And in present continuous,
we would say "I am working". So, what's the difference? What's the difference between
these two sentences? What's the difference, is there a difference? I don't know, what
do you think? Well, I do know. And there is a difference. Perhaps, in your language, there
isn't any difference because in many languages, there is no difference between the way that
these two ideas are expressed, but in English, there is a difference in the idea and the
way that we say it.
So, let me explain what that difference is. When we say "I am working", which is that
other tense, present continuous, which we can learn later, that is talking about something
that is happening now, or something temporary. What do I mean by now? For example, I am teaching.
You are listening, right? All these things are happening right now. So, when we are saying
that, when I'm saying that, I'm using present continuous. But when I say "I work", that
is in general. For example, I may not be working at this moment, but I work somewhere. I have
a job. So, when we talk about something that's true in general, that's present simple. Also,
present simple is for something that's more or less permanent. For example, if you have
a job, of course, no job or thing in life is necessarily permanent. What does permanent
mean, that it lasts all the time, but let's say you're not changing jobs every day. So,
more or less, this is the job you'll always have. This is your permanent job. So then,
for those kind of activities, we use present simple and we say "I work at the bank". "I
work in the store" etc. But, "I am working" would just be right now, or it could also
be for something temporary. "Temporary" means only for a short period of time. This is for
always, this is for a short period of time. This is true in general, and this one is true
for something happening now. So, those are some basic differences between these two tenses.
Now, let's focus on the tense that we're working on today, which is present simple. So, how
does it sound? How does it actually work? It's like this - so these are the different
subjects, and this is the verb and the way we use it. So just repeat it after me: I work.
You work. We work. They work. He works. She works. And: It works. "It" meaning the air
conditioner, or the computer. "It" is for something which is not a person but it's for
And we saw some differences there. Don't worry about those changes now. We're going to learn
all about that in a later part of this lesson, okay? So that's what it sounds like. This
is a basic description of these two differences which you can keep in mind as we now move
forward with the present simple tense.
Now, let's look at when we use the present simple tense, okay? So, we have five different
situations in which we can use this tense. Let's go through them one by one.
First of all, we can use the present simple tense to talk about things which are permanent.
Which are more or less always true, okay? For example: "We live in New York". So, let's
suppose that this is where you live, right? Not just for a short time, but for a long
time, and more or less, it's a permanent situation. It's always true for you. It doesn't mean
it's completely true always, but most of the time, this is where you live. So, that's what
we consider permanent. So, we could say "We live in New York", "He works at a bank", so
when we say, "He works at a bank", it means that's his permanent regular job, okay? It's
not a temporary job, it's not a job that he has just for a little while, that's where
he works most of the time, okay? So, we use this for permanent situations. Think about
yourself, okay? Whenever you're trying to learn a tense, one of the great things you
can do is to think of an example that applies to your life, or to people that you know.
What is permanent for you? So, you could say a sentence right now, such as "I live in _______",
whichever city you live in. Or, if you're working somewhere, and then you could say
"I work __________", okay? So, you, by making these sentences are already using the present
simple tense. It's that simple. Okay.
So, let's look at another situation in which you can use the present simple tense. For
routines. So, what's a routine? A routine is something you do regularly, okay? For example,
"I wake up at 6:00 every day.", okay? "I go to sleep at 11:00". So, wake, go, these verbs
are in the present simple tense because they're talking about a regular activity, a routine.
We can also use this tense to talk about facts. For example: "The sun rises in the east".
It's just a fact, it's something that's a scientific truth. It's not something that
I decided or you decided, it's just true. We could also say "The sun sets in the west",
Next, we can use this tense to talk about schedules, because think about it, what is
a schedule? A schedule tells us when something is going to happen, and that's kind of connected
to this point, right? A regularly scheduled event. So, for example, we could say "Our
class starts at 9:00." Why are we using present simple? Because our class always starts at
9:00, alright? It's kind of permanent, it's kind of a routine, it's a schedule. Or, the
flight leaves at noon. Not just this time, but the flight always leaves at noon. It has
a schedule and therefore we're using the present simple tense with the words "starts" and "leaves".
Okay, got that?
Now, let's look at one other situation. There are some words in English, and they're called
adverbs of frequency, to describe how often something is happening. And these words are
shown down here, but let's look at this sentence first. "She always takes the bus". So, always
is a word that tells us how often something happens, and all of these words down here
are just like that. So, if always is like 100% of the time, we have other words. We
have the word "never", which is 0%, it never happens. It doesn't happen at all. So, we
could say he or she never takes the bus. We could also say, let's say, 50% of the time,
okay, she takes the bus. So, we could say "She sometimes takes the bus". Or, once in
a while, okay, "She rarely takes the bus". Or, "She often takes the bus". So, when you
see one of these words, which are called adverbs of frequency, that also tells you that you
should be using the present simple tense, along with these other situations. So, if
you want to learn it really well, as I said, apply it to yourself. Say something about
your routine. Say something about what you always do, or what you never do, and that
way, you are already using the present simple tense.
Now, let's look at how to form the present simple tense. So, I've divided the board into
three sections. For positive sentences, negative sentences, and for questions. And we'll go
through each one step by step, okay? So, for these subjects, I, You, We, and They, we just
say "work". For example, "I work". You can say it after me, that way, you will remember
the grammar, you'll also get the pronunciation, and it'll help you to learn and remember.
So, repeat after me: I work, you work, we work, they work. Good. Now, look what happens
here. When it comes to he, she, and it, we need to add an "s", okay? That's all. We need
to add an "s" for he, she, and it, not because it's plural, it's not plural, but from a grammar
point of view, in the present simple, we need to add an "s" here. So, say it after me: He
works, she works, and it works. Okay? Very good. So, that's for a positive or affirmative
Now, let's look at a negative sentence. So, what we would say is "I don't work" if we're
shortening it, or we would say "I do not work". So, what happened here? How did we make it
negative? First, we have to add this word "do", and down here, we have to add the word
"does". So, this is a helping verb that we have to use in this negative form, alright?
So just learn it the way it is and then you'll understand it and you'll get used to it. So,
we say "I do not work". The "do not", when we shorten it, becomes "don't", and how does
that happen? We take out the "o" here and then we squeeze these words together, we join
them together, and it becomes "don't". So, first, let's say it with the contraction,
with the short form, because that's how we usually speak. It is correct to say, "I do
not work", but usually we'll say "I don't work", alright? But the most important thing
to remember is here we say, "I do not work" but here it becomes "He does not work", and
"does not" when we shorten it, when we contract it, becomes "doesn't". So, what happened here?
We cancelled the "o" and again, we joined these two words "does" and "not" and it became
"doesn't", and you can always know how to spell this contraction or this short form
because of where we put the apostrophe. We put the apostrophe, this little comma that's
in the in the air, in the place where we take out a letter. So, we put it here instead of
the "o" and we put it here instead of the "o". So, let's go through these. I don't work,
You don't work, We don't work, They don't work. Now, let's go to he, she, and it. Remember,
he, she, and it is always going to be a little bit different. Let's hear it and say it: He
doesn't work, She doesn't work, It doesn't work. Let's say the phone, the computer, it
doesn't work, okay?
Now, let's go to the questions. So, what happens in the questions? In the question, we also
have to use that helping verb: "do". "Do" here, and "does" down here, and we have to
change the order, so instead of saying "I do", we say "Do I?", alright? So, repeat it
after me: Do I work? I don't know, I don't remember. Do you work? Do we work? Do they
work? Down here, you would say, with he, she, and it: Does he work? Does she work? Does
it work? Alright? Now usually, of course, you're not just going to say "Do you work?"
You might say something more than that. Do you work on Fridays? Do you work Monday to
Friday? Do you work at the bank? Alright? So usually there's something more, but I've
just put the basic form here so that you understand the structure of how to use this tense.
Now, another important point is that sometimes, when we ask questions, we don't just start
with "do" or "does", but we need to add a question word, right? So, maybe you want to
say "where". What are the question words, first of all: who, what, when, where, why,
how, how much, how many, how often, okay? These are all what are called question words,
but if you have one of these question words, all you have to do, it's really easy, the
only thing you have to do is to put that question word right before this structure. So, "Where
do you work?", right? When do you work? Why do you work? How much do you work? How often
do you work? But we're keeping the same structure and we still need to have that helping verb
"do". The same down here: Where does he work? When does she work? Okay? So, keep that structure
and even if you have a question word, don't worry, just put it at the beginning. So, here
we have some examples: Where do you live? What do you do? Okay?
But the most important thing to remember is this part, okay? He works. She works. It works.
This is the only place in the entire board where we're adding an "s" to the verb itself.
Everywhere else, we're just using the base form of the verb, right? So, let's say our
verb is "to work". So, here it's "work". I work, I don't work, Do you work? He works,
here it's different, but after that, it goes back to the base form of the verb, right?
He doesn't work. Does he work? So even though with he, she, and it in the positive sentence
we add the "s", but here in the negative, no, go back to the base form and in the question,
go back to the base form of the word "work", but you do need to remember that in that positive
sentence, add the "s", okay? So, that's the structure of the present simple tense. It's
really pretty straightforward, you just need to practice it and you will get it.
Now, let's look at some of the spelling changes we need to make in the present simple tense.
We only need to make those changes, as I mentioned earlier, when we're using he, she, or it,
because, for example, we say "I work" but "He works", right? So what was the spelling
change we needed there? We had to add an "s". And most of the time, with most verbs, all
you need to do is add that "s". For example, dance becomes dances. You can say it after
me as well, okay? Cook - cooks. Sleep - sleeps. Alright? So there, all we did, we just added
the "s" for the he, she, or it.
Next, if the verb ends with an s, or an sh, or a ch, or an x, then we need to add "es".
And we can almost hear it, okay? Just listen. For example, kiss - kisses. You see that we're
hearing "kisses" "es" a little bit - it's a little bit longer, so that tells us we need
to add an "es". The next one, wash becomes washes. Teach - teaches. Fix - fixes. Okay?
So, that's another change. Another one is verbs ending in a consonant and y. What do
I mean by that? If we look at this verb: study, it ends with a y, right? And just before the
y, we have a consonant. What's a consonant? Anything that's not a vowel is a consonant.
So, what's a vowel? A vowel in English is a, e, i, o, or u. Everything else: b, d, g,
x, etc., these are all consonants. So, d is a consonant. Or here, in the word try, we
have a y and before that, we have a consonant, right? So, what happens in those cases? We
have to drop that last y and we have to add "ies". You've probably seen this lots of times,
okay, but this is actually what's happening. So, study becomes studies. Try becomes tries,
okay? You'll get it, you'll see. Fry - fries, right? Like French fries, okay? Alright.
So, then, last of all, there are some other verbs. They're usually irregular verbs, okay?
These are the most common patterns, but there are a few verbs where the ending might be
different in one way or another, okay? Sometimes the verb really changes and you have to pay
attention to that. You may be familiar with many of these already, but here are a few
examples. Go becomes like "I go", "He goes". "I do", "She does". "I have", "It has". So
you see that in some cases, the verb changed completely, okay? So these are the most common
patterns for spelling changes in the present simple tense.
Now, let's look at how to give short answers in English. See, in real conversation, when
someone asks you a question, we don't usually repeat the whole question in our answer. We
just give what's called like a short answer. Let me give you an example. If someone says,
"Do they need help?", then you can just say, in short, either "Yes, they do" or "No, they
don't". So, we do not have to say "Yes, they need help", right? You don't have to repeat
that whole question. You just give what's called the short answer. And how do you know
how to shorten it? It's really easy. So, if the question starts with "Do", like this,
right? Then your answer will include some form of "do" or "don't", depending on if it's
a positive sentence or a negative one. So, we see here "Do they need help?" "Yes they
do.", right? Or "No, they don't." Alright? So, the "do", the way the question starts
is the way you will be able to answer it, alright. It's really pretty simple, it really
is. The important thing to remember is that in the affirmative or positive answer, we
cannot shorten it, okay? There is no way to shorten that correctly. So here, we have to
say "Yes, they do", but here we can use the short form, or that contraction that we learned,
and you can say "No, they don't". Alright?
Let's look at another example. This time, I think you'll be able to apply the principle
yourself. So, the question is "Does he speak French?". So, how did it start? With "does".
So, what are our options? "Yes, he does.", right? Or "No, he doesn't." Okay? Again, the
"does" is used in the short answer. "Yes, he does." "No, he doesn't." Got it? Alright.
So, based on that, you can see that you could answer any question that someone's asking
you in present simple by just listening carefully to the question, but you do have to pay attention
also to the subject here. So for example, in this last one, "Do you like this song?",
somebody asks you, "Do you like this song?". So your answer - they're asking you, so you
can't say "Yes, you", you have you say "Yes, I". "Yes, I do", the "do" comes into play
again, or "No, I don't." So again, you do see the same principle applied all the way.
And again, remember, in the positive form, you cannot shorten it, but in the negative
form you can and you should shorten it because that's how we normally speak, and these short
answers are used a lot in normal conversation, so it would be a good idea for you to learn
them and it's really pretty fast and I think you might have already learned them. So, do
you understand? You could say "Yes, I do!" I hope that's what you said, okay? Alright.
Now, let's look at some common mistakes that students often make when they start using
the present simple tense, and this way you'll know what to be careful of so that you don't
make these kind of mistakes, alright? Let's look. So usually the mistakes are of four
different kinds. Sometimes, the mistake is in the tense itself. So remember we mentioned
at the beginning that there can be present simple and present continuous, and that present
simple is for something permanent and present continuous is for something temporary. So
sometimes, learners get mixed up between these two tenses. So, let's say in this example
that this person lives in Tokyo, right? It's not just for a little while, it's where that
person lives. So, if that person said "I am living in Tokyo", that would be wrong. If
that's where the person stays permanently, he or she should say "I live in Tokyo". They
could say "I am living in Tokyo" only if it's something temporary, alright? So, that is
one mistake that's sometimes made with the present simple, that confusion between it
and present continuous. Now, let's look at another kind of mistake. That's when a mistake
is made with the verb form. You'll find it because now you're good at this, okay? Ready,
let's read. These are all mistakes, okay, so these are all wrong, we're going to correct
them together. The sentence right now says "We likes to travel." So, the verb is wrong.
What should it be? "We like to travel". Say it after me: We like to travel. Good. Here's
a mistake, the same thing in the verb form, but in a negative sentence: "They doesn't
eat vegetables." That's wrong, you know that. What should it be? "They don't eat vegetables".
Say it after me: "They don't eat vegetables". Good. And here's a mistake in the question:
"Does you talk to him often?" That's wrong. We can't say that. We need to say what? "Do
you". Say it after me: "Do you talk to him often?" Good. Alright? So those are verb form
kind of mistakes. Another mistake that's possible is in spelling. We looked at the many kinds
of spelling, right, and you need to make the changes. So here, the person wrote "She trys
to save money", but the spelling of the verb is incorrect, because here it's a y and before
that it's a consonant, remember? So what should it be? "Tries". They had to drop that "y"
and add "ies". So, you'll pick up those spelling changes, okay? Just pay attention when you're
reading and so on and it'll come to you unnaturally.
Next, sometimes an entire word is missing. So, let's look at this one. This is a question:
"What time you finish work?". It almost sounds right, but it's not. It's wrong. Grammatically
in English, that's wrong. Can you understand it? Yes, you can understand it, but it's still
wrong. So, how do we correct it? Did you find the mistake? So we should say "What time do
you finish work?". So, what was missing was that helping word, okay, that helping verb,
remember, we do have to add that even if you have a question word here like "what time",
alright? "What time do you finish work?". So, these are the four main kinds of mistakes
that you have to be careful of. In tense, using the wrong tense, using the wrong verb
form, making any kind of spelling mistakes, or leaving out an essential verb or helping
verb. Alright? That's it!
You've been learning a lot, so now it's time to practice. Let's get started.
Number 1: I take, but he ________. What would you say in present simple? I take, he takes,
right? You have to add that "s" there, right? Very good.
Now, let's work it the other way.
Number 2: She does, We _______. Do you know it? We do. Very good.
Number 3: You enjoy. She ______. Yes, I can hear you. She enjoys. Very good. Alright
Now, let's make some phrases negative, alright, so we're going from positive to negative.
Number 4: They study. They ________________. Use the contraction. They don't study. Right?
"Don't" being short for what? Do not. Right, you've got it.
Number 5: The next one. He sings. Make it negative. He ________________. Yes, He doesn't
sing. "Doesn't" is short for what? Does not. Very good.
Now, let's make some questions. So, let's read the sentence first.
Number 6: She wants to buy a new phone.
How would we ask the question? What's the helping verb you have to use, helping word?
Do, or does, giving you a clue there. Here, it's "She", so we have to say, "Does she want
to buy a new phone?" Okay, so remember, we come back to the base form of the verb and
we have to use "do" or "does", but because it's she, we're saying "does". "Does she want
to buy a new phone?" Okay? Good.
Let's do the last one.
Number 7: They sell books online. Ask a question about that. Again, what are you going to start
with? "Do" this time, right. "Do they sell books online?", right? Okay? Why "do"? Because
now we're talking about they. And why "does" here? Because we were talking about "she",
So, if you got those right, that's great! If you got any wrong, maybe you can go back
later and check those parts, but we're going to practice some more, we're going to learn
a little bit more, and you'll get it for sure by the end of this, okay. Stick with me.
To review: you know the present simple tense when you know when you use it, which we talked
about, and how to use it. And how do you know that you know how to use it? When you can
do these things: you can make a positive sentence, a negative sentence, and a question. For example,
you should be able to say easily "They live in Amsterdam." or "They don't live in Amsterdam."
or "Do they live in Amsterdam?". You should be able to switch easily and comfortably and
quickly and correctly between these three sentences, okay?
So, remember, this is the present simple tense, but this is an entire series that we have
of English tenses, so from the present simple, you can go to the next class which is on the
present continuous tense, and that way you can take your English forward step by step,
alright? And if you'd like a little more practice on this tense, the present simple tense, go
to www.engvid.com , alright? Thank you very much for watching, I know you're a serious
student, and I know you're going to make good progress.