What is Simple Present Tense? - Definition & Examples

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  • 0:02 Repetitive Action Verbs
  • 0:25 What Is the Simple…
  • 1:32 What it Looks Like
  • 3:22 What it is Not
  • 3:45 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Lindsey Hays

Lindsey has taught Elementary Education, Spanish immersion, and ESL. She has a MS in Elementary Education with a BA in Spanish.

Expert Contributor
Linsey Betts

Linsey is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in English Literature at Claremont Graduate University and has taught students of all ages in English and the humanities for 10 years.

Is there anything you do that is a habit or repeated activity? These things you do continually in the present are called simple present verbs. In this lesson, learn all about simple present verbs, what they look like, and what they're not.

Repetitive Action Verbs

Think about your daily schedule. What time do you wake up, eat breakfast, or do homework? These actions are repetitive. You do them every day. Any time you develop something of a routine, you have to use simple present tense verbs to describe it.

Take a look at simple present tense verbs, what they look like, and when to use them.

What Is the Simple Present Tense?

The simple present tense is when you use a verb to tell about things that happen continually in the present, like every day, every week, or every month. We use the simple present tense for anything that happens often or is factual. Here are a few examples:

  • I go to school every day.
  • We play outside after school each day.
  • Every Monday they eat spaghetti for dinner.

In these sentences, ''go,'' ''play,'' and ''eat'' are in the simple present tense. They tell about things that happen repeatedly in the present. The simple present tense is also used with basic facts and with feelings.

For example:

  • The sky is blue.

''Is'' is in the simple present tense, since it's used to tell a fact about something.

  • I am tired.
  • They are so excited.

''Am'' and ''are'' are in the simple present tense and describe emotions.

Just remember, when you're using a simple present tense verb, you're describing something that continues to repeat itself in the present.

What It Looks Like

Use simple present tense verbs in the base form of the verb. Do not add any kind of suffix, like ''-ed'' or ''-ing.'' Just like the previous example sentences, the base forms of ''go,'' ''play,'' and ''eat'' were used.

However, you do change the simple present verb when the subject describes ''he,'' ''she,'' or ''it'' - do this by adding an ''-s.'' Look at these examples:

  • Carlos plays with his sister on Saturday mornings.
  • She talks on the phone often.

''Plays'' and ''talks'' are simple present verbs that need an ''-s,'' since the subjects are a version of ''he'' or ''she.'' Exceptions to this rule are when a verb ends in ''s,'' ''x,'' ''sh,'' or ''ch.'' In these cases, we need to add ''-es,'' just like in these sentences:

  • He watches his favorite show whenever it's on.
  • Jackie faxes the information whenever they need it.

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Additional Activities

Simple Present Tense: Review and Practice

In this lesson, we learned about the simple present tense. The simple present tense involves using a verb to describe something that happens continually in the present. It is used for things that happen often or for factual statements. Practice what you have learned using the following exercises!

Identify the Verb

In the following examples, identify the simple present tense verb (or verbs) in the sentence.

1. We travel to San Diego every summer.

2. Lacey and her mom talk on the phone every day.

3. The dog is excited about his new toy.

4. The bank is around the corner from the store.

Simple Present Versus Present Participle

Remember that the present participle tense (which uses verbs with the "-ing" ending) is not the same as the simple present. The simple present describes what is happening repeatedly in the present. For the sentences below, state whether the verb is in the simple present or not.

5. I am going to the market.

6. I go to the coffee shop every morning.

7. Jerry watches a movie with friends on Fridays.

8. Jerry is watching a movie in the theater.


1. travel
2. talk
3. is
4. is

5. No. The verb "going" is in the present participle tense.
6. Yes.
7. Yes.
8. No. The verb "watching" is in the present participle tense.

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