Want to learn present indefinite tense/ simple present tense in English grammar with its structure, rules, examples, usages, and exercises? Today, you are going to learn 10 rules of simple present tense which will give you a clear idea about the core structure of this tense from top to bottom.
All examples and usages of present indefinite are explained in detail both for general and advanced level students. But the most important question is…
What is Present Indefinite Tense?
In our daily life, we express our daily activities or common events of present time in this tense.
Moreover, any sentence expressing daily activities, universal truth, and historical truth, regular habits, observations, declarations, instructions, commentaries, or action in near future is considered as the present indefinite or simple present tense in English language.
Let’s have some examples:
My brother works in a company.
He always stays up till midnight.
He doesn’t expect your help.
Do you really want this book?
These sentences are general examples of simple present tense. Now, i am going to start detailed discussion and i hope you already have the basic understanding of tenses in English. Because it will help you understand the basic and advanced structures, variations, and examples of this tense.
10 Rules of Present Indefinite Tense
Simple present tense rules cover 3 base structures of sentences based on affirmative, negative, and interrogative formats or expressions. Because whatever we express in our daily life, we express it either in positive (affirmative), negative, or question (interrogative) formats.
So, we have to learn about the different forms of verbs based on these 3 categories of sentences.
Simple Present Tense Structure
The basic structure of simple present tense is: Subject+ present form of verb / (verb + s/es) + Obj+Ext.
See it in this diagram below:
I attend the class regularly.
He visits his family every weekend.
He goes to school in the morning.
I go there in order to meet her.
You have a question about (verb + s/es), right?
Yeah… i have an answer too.
Note: ‘go’ is the base or present form of verb. Then, why ‘es’ is added with go? (go+es) – goes. But again in the last sentence, ‘es’ is not added with the verb ‘go’ (ex: I go there…)
When the subject of a sentence is ‘I’ (1st person), the verb ‘go’ will be in base from. But, when the subject is ‘he’ (3rd person+ singular number), the verb is changed into ‘goes’ adding ‘es’ next to it.
This is the first and most important rule of present simple tense and we are going to focus on it in detail.
Rule 01: Use of (verb + s/es)
If the subject of a sentence is 3rd person+ singular number such as (he/ she/ it/ Jack/ Soham/ Bangladesh/ America/ Square Ltd./ Dutch-Bangla Bank), the suffix ‘s/es’ will be added at the last of the verb.
On the other hand, if the subject of a sentence is 1st person, 2nd person, or (3rd person + plural number), the verb will be in base form without adding anything with it.
See these examples:
He talks in French language. (3rd person+ singular number)
Bangladesh deserves the good harvest. (3rd person+ singular number)
We fail in the debate competition. (1st person)
Please note that most of the students make mistakes in recognizing Subjects (3rd person+ Singular number) in sentences and using right form of the verbs. So, be careful and notice the given chart below:
Examples of Subjects (3rd person+ Singular number):
- He/she/it- fixed pronoun
- Rohan, Michel, John, Ruby- any single person
- Bangladesh, America, England, Japan, Dhaka, New York- any country, city, name of place
- Square Ltd., Liverpool, Pepsi- any company, organization, brand, group, team, product, etc.
- Sun, moon- any single natural object
- Government, committee, and section- any group acts as a single authority.
Except the Subjects (3rd person+ Singular number) in English, in case of all other subjects: 1st person, 2nd person, or (3rd person+ plural number), there will be no change of the verb in a sentence.
I think you have a few more questions which need to be explained.
Where to add ‘s’ and where ‘es’ with the verb?
When in a sentence, you will get verbs ending in ‘ss’, ‘sh’, ‘ch’, ‘x’ and ‘o’, you have to add ‘es’ after the verb. In all other cases, you will add only ‘s’ next to the verb.
Here are the examples:
I kiss her.
The boy kisses the girl.
We rush to the spot.
He rushes to the spot.
You do the work always.
She does the work always.
I watch TV every evening.
My sister watches TV every evening.
I go to school by bus.
He goes to school by bus.
Rule 02: Use of (verb + ies)
When ‘y’ follows a consonant in a verb word with the subjects (3rd person+ Singular number) in a sentence,you must change the ‘y’ of the verb into ‘i’ and add ‘es’ with it.
So, the verb ‘fly’ becomes ‘flies’ (fly +ies) removing the alphabet ‘y’ following a consonant ‘l’ in the word ‘fly’.
For an example,
You cry when you become afraid.
She cries when she becomes afraid.
The mosquito flies here and there.
Rule 03: Use of ‘Be verbs’ and ‘Have verbs’
If a ‘be verb’ (am/is/are) or ‘have verb’ (have/has) is used in a sentence as the one and only verb, there will be nothing added with the verb. Please note that (am/is/are) is the ‘be verb’ in present tense and (have/has) is ‘have verb’.
When to use ‘be verbs’ and ‘have verbs’?
If in a sentence there is no action and the verb indicates the state or condition of (someone or something), we will use- am/is/are as ‘be verb’.
I am tired now.
I‘m seventeen years old now.
He is busy today.
We are ready for the upcoming match.
But if we want to express that someone or something has anything in his or her possession (ownership), we will use- have/has
He has a nice school bag.
I have a nice cup.
According to the research of the Oxford University and Cambridge University, most of the students make mistakes in using the right form of the verbs (using s/es, ies, be verb, and have verb) in present indefinite tense. So, be careful here!
Now, let’s discuss the negative and interrogative rules and structures of simple present tense with examples.
Rule 04: Negative (do/does not + verb present form)
When you will change a positive sentence into negative form, you have to use the (do/does not) before the present form of the main verb.
When to Use “Don’t” and When to Use “Doesn’t”?
If the subject of a sentence is 3rd person+ singular number and ‘s/es’ is added with the verb, we will use ‘does not/ doesn’t’ and the main verb will be turned back into base form removing ‘s/es’.
In case of all other subjects 1st person, 2nd person, or (3rd person + plural number), we will use ‘do not/ don’t’ before the main verb. For more information, you can check out Right Forms of Verbs lesson.
Negative Structure: Sub + (do/does not + verb present form) + Obj.
I do not go to school regularly.
He does not go to school regularly.
We don’t work at the weekend.
We don’t live far away.
He doesn’t want to go shopping.
Rule 05: Interrogative: (do/does + subject + main verb?)
When you will change a positive sentence into interrogative form in simple present tense, you have to use the (do/does not) in the beginning of the sentence and put subject + main verb next to it. The same rule of the subject (3rd person+ singular number + all other persons) applies here.
Interrogative Structure: (do/does + subject + main verb + object?)
Do you watch the drama regularly?
Does he visit you every weekend?
Do you live in this city?
NOTE: The verb ‘do not’ and ‘does not’ is normally contracted in short form (don’t/ doesn’t) in the negative and negative – interrogative sentences.
I don’t work here.
He doesn’t help other people.
Don’t, you work there?
Doesn’t he visit this place daily?
Simple Present Tense Examples & Usages
In order to use present simple tense in different situations and contexts, you have to understand the real life usages and examples of it.
When to Use Present Indefinite Tense?
Rule 06: Expressing Daily Activities/ Regular Habit/ Facts
When we try to express our daily action, regular habits, general facts, observations, declarations, instructions, and commentaries, we use the structure of this tense both in spoken and written formats.
See these example chart below:
|Daily activities||We play cricket here every weekend.|
|Regular habit||My mom cooks rice thrice a day.|
|General facts||The human body contains 206 bones.|
|Observations||I know you will do better in your next exam.|
|Declarations||Spartans! We fight for our freedom.|
|Instructions||Go there and wait for me without doing anything.|
|Commentaries||Ronaldo shows his cleverness and it’s worth watching.|
Rule 07: Expressing Universal or Historical Truth
When we try to certify universal truth which none denies or try to describe an event of past taken from history, we use this tense to form our sentences. All historical events are from past, even 100 years ago will be considered as historical truth and expressed in present tense.
See these examples:
- Universal truth – The sun rises in the east.
- Historical truth – Akbar attacks India finally.
Rule 08: Near Future / Future Time Markers
If you want to express any action of near future/ fixed in future time or any sentence contains the words: future time markers within itself, it will be formed using the structure of simple present tense. Here is the chart of the future time marker words in English language.
|Tomorrow night||Within/by a few hours|
|Next week||After a while|
My father goes to Dhaka tonight.
He comes here tonight.
The summer vacation starts next week.
He’ll ask David when he meets him.
Rule 09: Re-addressing Past Events
When we are talking about a past event or sharing it with someone else, we can use present indefinite tense along with past tense.
For an example:
A few days ago, I was waiting for a bus at station when suddenly your brother comes up to me and asks me about your tuition session.
Rule 10: Discussing about Movie, Drama or Novel Story
Sometimes, when we have watched a movie or read a novel in the past but we are discussing about it in present time, we can express the context or story in the form of present simple tense as it is happening now.
In King’s Landing, Lady Olenna secretly poisons King Joffrey at his wedding. But Cersei blames Tyrion for her son’s poising and horrible death. – (taken from the TV series: Game of Thrones)
Present Simple Tense Exercises
Use the right form of verbs given within brackets to complete these sentences:
- 1. Robin (help) me in our business factory.
- 2. Everything (be) connected in this world.
- 3. On average, cats (sleep) about 12-16 hours a day.
- 4. The boy (look) a bit dangerous to me.
- 5. How long (do/does) you study daily?
- 6. The magician (have) multiple skills.
- 7. The human heart usually (beat) about 60 to 100 times a minute.
- 8. They (not have) any friend in college.
- 9. The shop (not close) until evening.
- 10. (Do/Does) your brother usually comes so late at night?
- 11. Light (travel) at almost 300,000 kilometres per second.
- 12. His brother (study) French.
- 13. The magician (have) multiple skills.
- 14. The baby (not cry) during watching T.V.
- 15. Out of the world’s approximately 7.8 billion inhabitants, 1.35 billion (speak) English.
Present Simple/ Indefinite Tense Summary
This is all about present simple tense in English language and I have covered almost all rules and variations of it. If you want to read all parts of indefinite tenses, you can check out these lessons: Past Indefinite and Future Indefinite.
If you study all the structures, rules, and examples of present simple tense attentively discussed here above, I believe, you can solve all the questions on the right form of verbs. Best of luck!