The Simple Present Tense

The Simple Present tense is, well, simple. It is formed by adding the suffix -s to the end of the verb. If the word ends in -ch, -sh, -x or z, the ending is -es, rather than -s.

This change is only made in the third-person singular form. The conjugated verb remains the same as the infinitive in all other forms.

To Speak

  • I speak
  • You speak
  • He/she/it speaks
  • We speak
  • You speak
  • They speak
To Catch

  • I catch
  • You catch
  • He/she/it catches
  • We catch
  • You catch
  • They catch

Uses of the Simple Present Tense

There are three basic uses for the Simple Present tense:

To Express Repeated Actions, Habits, Situations, and Other General “Truths”

  • Programmers love computers.
  • I drink coffee in the morning.
  • New York City is a competitive place.
  • Jack always forgets about my birthday.
To Talk About Events or Actions in the Near Future

The Simple Present tense is often used in this way for meetings and public transit.

  • The meeting starts at 10:00 a.m.
  • My flight arrives tomorrow morning.
  • The next train leaves in 15 minutes.
To Give Directions and Instructions

  • Take the next left, then walk straight ahead for two blocks.
  • Lock that door when you leave.
  • Open your folder and turn to page 3, please.

Not Right Now!

Most of the time, the Simple Present tense of a verb is not used to explain things happening right now. Confusing, we know.

Just remember that the verb to be (am/is/are) is almost always used before the verb infinitive when talking about something happening in this moment. For example:

I am talking to Jack right now.

You are late for your meeting!

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