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The Present Simple Tense

The Present Simple tense is used for actions that are happening in the present time, habitual actions, or general truths.
    I want a train ticket to Suzhou.
    We love our parents.
    This bus goes to Westminster Palace.
    Water boils at 100C.

Formulation of the Present Simple tense

This is the simplest of the verb tenses, as it only uses the indicative form of the verb, which is the form of the verb one will find in the dictionaries. All the persons use the same form EXCEPT the third person singular (he, she, it) which takes an -s at the end.

  • I speak.
  • You speak.
  • He/She/It speaks.
  • We speak.
  • You speak.
  • They speak.

Usage of the Present Simple tense

 The Present Simple is used to express facts (things that are always true) and habits.

  • Fact: I am an English teacher. I like reading.
  • Fact: The guard usually stands in front of the palace.
  • Fact: It is very humid over here in the summer. 
  • Habit: My colleague usually shops online.
  • Habit: He talks a lot.
  • Habit: He always takes the dog out in the morning.

Confusion between the Present Simple and the Present Continuous Tenses

In some instances we need to use a form of the present tense to show that something is happening now and is continuing to happen after the moment of speaking. This tense is the Present Progressive or Present Continuous.

Native English speakers do not have any trouble deciding which form of the present tense to use, but this is an endless source of difficulty to foreigners. Try your hand by doing this exercise:

Use the present tense contiunuous to express a temporary action

Please note that all fields followed by an asterisk must be filled in.

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