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
Instructor: Lindsey Hays

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

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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