The present simple is one of the first tenses that is taught to language learners when they study the English language. The reason for this is that it is probably the easiest of all tenses to understand. English grammar is notorious for its complexity and this article will outline the uses of the present simple in a clear and easy to understand manner.
Basically, the present simple is used to talk about habits, repeated actions, facts, feelings, opinions, states of minds, timetables and schedules.
To start with, we’ll discuss things in general and facts. It doesn’t really matter whether the fact is true or false, as long as the speaker believes it to be true at the time of stating the fact and that it was true in the past and will continue to be true in the future. For example, the speaker might say that “Bangkok is the capital city of Thailand”.
Next, we often use the present simple to talk about actions that happen repeatedly. This might be something that is a habit, an activity that you do every day or anything else that is regularly repeated. For example, the speaker might say “I don’t eat breakfast” or “I smoke cigarettes”.
Moreover, it might also be used to discuss a timetable, schedule or something that happens at a specific time. For example, the speaker could say “I teach English at 7am” or “The bus arrives at 7am”.
It can also be used to describe a state of mind or a feeling. You might say something like “I feel happy” or “I feel hungry”.
Finally, it can also be used for an action that is occurring right now and that it is not a continuous action. For example, “Sarah is at work” or “He wants a biscuit”.
The present simple is (as the name suggests) a simple tense to understand and master. It is made up of a subject, the base form of a verb (with an added ‘s’ for 3rd persons) and an object. The subject might be a pronoun such as I, he, she or we, or it might be a name of something, someone or another noun.
In the sentence, “William writes articles”, we can see that “William” is a noun (the name of a person), “writes” is a verb (the base form of a verb plus the letter ‘s’) and “articles” is the object.
In English, we use this tense regularly in everyday conversation and as a language learner it is important to understand why and when it should be used.