When Should I Use The Present Simple Tense?
Okay, now you know how to make the present simple. But how do we use it? In fact, we use this tense in several different situations:
My Present Simple Video
1: First, we use the Present Simple when something is generally true:
- The sun rises in the east.
- People need food.
- It snows in winter.
- The sky isn't green.
- Plants die without water.
- Two and two make four.
2: We also need to use this tense for a situation that we think is more or less permanent (see the present continuous for a temporary situation - one which we think won't last long):
- Where do you live?
- She works in a bank.
- They love coffee.
- She has three children.
- I am married.
- I don't like mushrooms.
- Do you smoke?
- I play tennis every Tuesday.
- We often go to the cinema.
- She gets up at seven o'clock every day.
- At the weekend, we usually go to the market.
- How often do you study English?
- I don't travel very often.
4: Four, we use the simple present to talk about what happens in books, plays, or films:
- The hero dies at the end of the film.
- A young woman travels through Europe, where she meets different people, and finally falls in love.
- In this book, an army invades Britain.
- The main character is very pretty and works in a bookshop.
5: We use it in the first and the zero conditionals:
- If it rains, I won't come.
- If you heat water to 100 degrees, it boils.
6: Strangely, we can use this tense to talk about the future. When you are discussing a timetable or a fixed plan, you can use this tense. Usually, the timetable is fixed by an organisation, not by us:
- School begins at nine tomorrow.
- Our train leaves at eleven.
- What time does the film start?
- The plane doesn't arrive at seven, it arrives at seven thirty.
- When does the class finish?
7: We also use it to talk about the future after words like ' 'when', 'until', 'after', 'before' and 'as soon as' in a future sentence:
- I will call you when I have time. (Not: 'will have')
- I won't go out until it stops raining.
- She'll come as soon as her babysitter arrives.
- I'm going to make dinner after I watch the news.
- I'll give you the book before you go.
8: We need to use this simple tense with stative verbs (verbs which we don't use in continuous tenses), in situations where we'd usually use the present continuous:
- This soup tastes great.
- You look fabulous.
- I think she is very pretty.
- I am cold.
- I promise I will help you.