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Lesson 8.1

Present Simple

El presente simple
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When we speak of the various verb tenses, we must talk about both how to form the tense, as well as when we use it. Therefore, in this lesson, as with all the other verb tense lessons, we will look at both structure and use.

Grammatical Rules

Form

When conjugating the verb in the present simple, we use the infinitive with the following subjects: “I”, “you”, “we”, and “they”. For the third person (“he”, “she” and “it”), we add an “-s” to the end of the verb.

Subject Conjugation
I, you, we, they talk, eat, learn, do, go…
he, she, it talks, eats, learns, does, goes

Note: There are spelling exceptions in the third person, depending on the last letter(s) of the verb. The rules are the same as those for forming the plural. For more information, see the lesson on nouns.

Note: There are spelling exceptions in the third person, depending on the last letter(s) of the verb. The rules are the same as those for forming the plural. For more information, see the lesson on nouns.

Structure

1. Affirmative Sentences

Subject + verb.

Examples:

 I talk.
 He eats.
 They learn.

2. Negative Sentences

Subject + auxiliary verb (to do) + negative auxiliary (not) + verb.

Examples:

 I do not [don’t] talk.
 He does not [doesn’t] eat.
 They do not [don’t] learn.

Note: Don’t forget that in negative sentences with the auxiliary “to do”, it is the auxiliary verb that is conjugated in the third person, not the principal verb.

3. Interrogative Sentences

Auxiliary verb (to do) + subject + verb?

Examples:

 Do you talk?
 Does he eat?
 Do they learn?

Note: As with negative sentences, it is the auxiliary verb “to do” that is conjugated, depending on the subject. The principal verb remains in the infinitive.

*For more information on the structure of sentences, see the lesson on constructing sentences.

Note: As with negative sentences, it is the auxiliary verb “to do” that is conjugated, depending on the subject. The principal verb remains in the infinitive.

*For more information on the structure of sentences, see the lesson on constructing sentences.

Uses

1. We use the present simple when speaking about things that happen regularly. It is never used to speak about something that is happening at the moment in which we are speaking.

We tend to use adverbs of time with the present simple:

  always,   every day,   usually,   often,   sometimes,   rarely,   hardly ever,   never

Examples:

 I always talk to my mother on Sunday.
 He never eats vegetables.
 . They usually learn something new in class.

Exception:

Adverbs of time are generally located before the verb, except when they are used with the verb “to be”. When using “to be”, the adverb is found after the verb.

Ejemplos:

 I am always happy.
 He is often sick.
 They are rarely late.

2. The present simple is used to speak about generalities or scientific facts.

Examples:

 He does not [doesn’t] eat vegetables.
 She works in a hospital.
 Elephants live in Africa.
 Bogota is in Colombia.
 Do children like animals?
 Adults do not [don’t] know everything.

3. We also use the present simple for events scheduled in the near future.

Examples:

 The train leaves at 10:00.
 The party is tonight.
 Does the festival start tomorrow?
 The plane does not [doesn’t] arrive today.

4. We use the present simple for giving instructions (the imperative).

Examples:

 Open the window.
 Eat the vegetables.
 Don’t cry.
 Do your homework.
 Call your mother.
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