The Present Simple Tense

(also called the simple present tense)

(Download this explanation in PDF)

We need to use the Present Simple a lot in English, so it's really important to understand it well. Many students have problems with the form (or how to make it).

Simple present tense with 'be'



The verb 'be' is different from the other verbs in this tense. Let's look at 'be' first:



Here's the positive form (positive means a normal sentence, not a negative or a question. This is sometimes called 'affirmative')

Positive Positive Short Form
I am I'm
you are you're
he is he's
she is she's
it is it's
we are we're
they are they're

Click here to practise making the positive with 'be'.


Next, here's the negative. It's very easy. You only add 'not'.

Negative Negative short form
I am not I'm not
you are not you aren't
he is not he isn't
she is not she isn't
it is not it isn't
we are not we aren't
they are not they aren't

Click here to practise making the negative with 'be'.

And finally let's talk about the question form of the present simple with 'be'.

Firstly, here's the 'yes / no' question form:

Yes / No Questions
am I ?
are you ?
is he ?
is she ?
is it ?
are we ?
are they ?

Click here to practise making yes / no questions with 'be'.

If you'd like to make a 'wh' question, you just put the question word at the front:

Wh Questions
where am I ?
what are you ?
why is he ?
who is she ?
when are we ?
how are they ?

Click here to practise making 'wh' questions with 'be' .

Click here to practise making positive, negative and question forms with 'be' (exercise 1)
Click here to practise making positive, negative and question forms with 'be' (exercise 2)


Present simple tense with other verbs




With all other verbs, we make the present simple in the same way.


The positive is really easy. It's just the verb with an extra 's' if the subject is 'he', 'she', or 'it'. Let's take the verb 'play' as an example:

Positive (of 'play')
I play
you play
he plays
she plays
it plays
we play
they play

Click here to practise making the positive form for other verbs (exercise 1)
Click here to practise making the positive form for other verbs (exercise 2)



To make the negative form, you need to use 'do not' (don't) or ' does not' (doesn't).

Negative (of 'play')
I do not play I don't play
you do not play you don't play
he does not play he doesn't play
she does not play she doesn't play
it does not play it doesn't play
we do not play we don't play
they do not play they don't play

Click here to practise making the negative (exercise 1)
Click here to practise making the negative (exercise 2)



How about the question form of the present simple tense?

We use 'do' or 'does' before the subject to make the 'yes / no' question:

Yes / No questions
do I play ?
do you play ?
does he play ?
does she play ?
does it play ?
do we play ?
do they play ?

Click here to practise making yes / no questions.

Just like with 'be', if you'd like to make a 'wh' question, you just put the question word at the front:

Wh Questions
where do I play ?
what do you play ?
why does he play ?
who does she play ?
when do we play ?
how do they play ?

Click here to practise making 'wh' questions

Mixed exercise 1
Mixed exercise 2
Mixed exercise 3
Mixed exercise 4 using both 'be' and other verbs

Click here for all the exercises about this tense

Next, I explain how to USE the Present Simple.

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