When Should I Use The Present Simple Tense?

Present Simple Infographic

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:

(More about the difference between the present simple and the present continuous here.)

My Present Simple Video

1: First, we use the Present Simple when something is generally true:

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):

3: The next use is for habits or things that we do regularly. We often use adverbs of frequency in this case (also see the present continuous for new, temporary or annoying habits):

4: Four, we use the simple present to talk about what happens in books, plays, or films:

5: We use it in the first and the zero conditionals:

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:

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:

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:

Try an exercise where you have to choose the present simple or present continuous here
Try another here
Try an exercise where you choose the present simple or the future simple here

Click here for a list of all the exercises about this verb tense.


Buy Seonaid's book!

'A' and 'The' Explained