Learn English Tenses: PRESENT SIMPLE
Hi, I’m Rebecca. Welcome to this series on
English tenses. In this class, we will look at the present simple tense. I’ll show you
exactly when to use it, how to use it, and also what mistakes to be careful of when you’re
using this tense. We’ll also go through lots of practice exercises together, so you’ll
learn exactly how to use this tense correctly and confidently. Are you ready? Let’s get
started. This series is about English tenses. But what
are tenses anyway? Tenses are simply the way we talk about time in English. What do we
mean by time? We mean the past, the present, the future, right? These are all different
times and we have different tenses to express or talk about those times. So, in this lesson,
we’re going to look at the two basic ways that you – we can speak about the present
in English and they are: the present simple and the present continuous, or present progressive
as it’s also called. Now, although we are focusing on the present
simple, I want to give you a little overview so you understand the basic differences between
these two simple tenses, alright? So, let me give you an example. In present simple,
we would say “I work”. And in present continuous, we would say “I am working”. So, what’s the
difference? What’s the difference between these two sentences? What’s the difference,
is there a difference? I don’t know, what do you think? Well, I do know. And there is
a difference. Perhaps, in your language, there isn’t any difference because in many languages,
there is no difference between the way that these two ideas are expressed, but in English,
there is a difference in the idea and the way that we say it. So, let me explain what that difference is.
When we say “I am working”, which is that other tense, present continuous, which we
can learn later, that is talking about something that is happening now, or something temporary.
What do I mean by now? For example, I am teaching. You are listening, right? All these things
are happening right now. So, when we are saying that, when I’m saying that, I’m using present
continuous. But when I say “I work”, that is in general. For example, I may not be working
at this moment, but I work somewhere. I have a job. So, when we talk about something that’s
true in general, that’s present simple. Also, present simple is for something that’s more
or less permanent. For example, if you have a job, of course, no job or thing in life
is necessarily permanent. What does permanent mean, that it lasts all the time, but let’s
say you’re not changing jobs every day. So, more or less, this is the job you’ll always
have. This is your permanent job. So then, for those kind of activities, we use present
simple and we say “I work at the bank”. “I work in the store” etc. But, “I am working”
would just be right now, or it could also be for something temporary. “Temporary” means
only for a short period of time. This is for always, this is for a short period of time.
This is true in general, and this one is true for something happening now. So, those are
some basic differences between these two tenses. Now, let’s focus on the tense that we’re working
on today, which is present simple. So, how does it sound? How does it actually work?
It’s like this – so these are the different subjects, and this is the verb and the way
we use it. So just repeat it after me: I work. You work. We work. They work. He works. She
works. And: It works. “It” meaning the air conditioner, or the computer. “It” is for
something which is not a person but it’s for a thing. And we saw some differences there. Don’t worry
about those changes now. We’re going to learn all about that in a later part of this lesson,
okay? So that’s what it sounds like. This is a basic description of these two differences
which you can keep in mind as we now move forward with the present simple tense. Now, let’s look at when we use the present
simple tense, okay? So, we have five different situations in which we can use this tense.
Let’s go through them one by one. First of all, we can use the present simple
tense to talk about things which are permanent. Which are more or less always true, okay?
For example: “We live in New York”. So, let’s suppose that this is where you live, right?
Not just for a short time, but for a long time, and more or less, it’s a permanent situation.
It’s always true for you. It doesn’t mean it’s completely true always, but most of the
time, this is where you live. So, that’s what we consider permanent. So, we could say “We
live in New York”, “He works at a bank”, so when we say, “He works at a bank”, it means
that’s his permanent regular job, okay? It’s not a temporary job, it’s not a job that he
has just for a little while, that’s where he works most of the time, okay? So, we use
this for permanent situations. Think about yourself, okay? Whenever you’re trying to
learn a tense, one of the great things you can do is to think of an example that applies
to your life, or to people that you know. What is permanent for you? So, you could say
a sentence right now, such as “I live in _______”, whichever city you live in. Or, if you’re
working somewhere, and then you could say “I work __________”, okay? So, you, by making
these sentences are already using the present simple tense. It’s that simple. Okay. So, let’s look at another situation in which
you can use the present simple tense. For routines. So, what’s a routine? A routine
is something you do regularly, okay? For example, “I wake up at 6:00 every day.”, okay? “I go
to sleep at 11:00”. So, wake, go, these verbs are in the present simple tense because they’re
talking about a regular activity, a routine. We can also use this tense to talk about facts.
For example: “The sun rises in the east”. It’s just a fact, it’s something that’s a
scientific truth. It’s not something that I decided or you decided, it’s just true.
We could also say “The sun sets in the west”, okay? Next, we can use this tense to talk about
schedules, because think about it, what is a schedule? A schedule tells us when something
is going to happen, and that’s kind of connected to this point, right? A regularly scheduled
event. So, for example, we could say “Our class starts at 9:00.” Why are we using present
simple? Because our class always starts at 9:00, alright? It’s kind of permanent, it’s
kind of a routine, it’s a schedule. Or, the flight leaves at noon. Not just this time,
but the flight always leaves at noon. It has a schedule and therefore we’re using the present
simple tense with the words “starts” and “leaves”. Okay, got that? Now, let’s look at one other situation. There
are some words in English, and they’re called adverbs of frequency, to describe how often
something is happening. And these words are shown down here, but let’s look at this sentence
first. “She always takes the bus”. So, always is a word that tells us how often something
happens, and all of these words down here are just like that. So, if always is like
100% of the time, we have other words. We have the word “never”, which is 0%, it never
happens. It doesn’t happen at all. So, we could say he or she never takes the bus. We
could also say, let’s say, 50% of the time, okay, she takes the bus. So, we could say
“She sometimes takes the bus”. Or, once in a while, okay, “She rarely takes the bus”.
Or, “She often takes the bus”. So, when you see one of these words, which are called adverbs
of frequency, that also tells you that you should be using the present simple tense,
along with these other situations. So, if you want to learn it really well, as I said,
apply it to yourself. Say something about your routine. Say something about what you
always do, or what you never do, and that way, you are already using the present simple
tense. Now, let’s look at how to form the present
simple tense. So, I’ve divided the board into three sections. For positive sentences, negative
sentences, and for questions. And we’ll go through each one step by step, okay? So, for
these subjects, I, You, We, and They, we just say “work”. For example, “I work”. You can
say it after me, that way, you will remember the grammar, you’ll also get the pronunciation,
and it’ll help you to learn and remember. So, repeat after me: I work, you work, we
work, they work. Good. Now, look what happens here. When it comes to he, she, and it, we
need to add an “s”, okay? That’s all. We need to add an “s” for he, she, and it, not because
it’s plural, it’s not plural, but from a grammar point of view, in the present simple, we need
to add an “s” here. So, say it after me: He works, she works, and it works. Okay? Very
good. So, that’s for a positive or affirmative sentence. Now, let’s look at a negative sentence. So,
what we would say is “I don’t work” if we’re shortening it, or we would say “I do not work”.
So, what happened here? How did we make it negative? First, we have to add this word
“do”, and down here, we have to add the word “does”. So, this is a helping verb that we
have to use in this negative form, alright? So just learn it the way it is and then you’ll
understand it and you’ll get used to it. So, we say “I do not work”. The “do not”, when
we shorten it, becomes “don’t”, and how does that happen? We take out the “o” here and
then we squeeze these words together, we join them together, and it becomes “don’t”. So,
first, let’s say it with the contraction, with the short form, because that’s how we
usually speak. It is correct to say, “I do not work”, but usually we’ll say “I don’t
work”, alright? But the most important thing to remember is here we say, “I do not work”
but here it becomes “He does not work”, and “does not” when we shorten it, when we contract
it, becomes “doesn’t”. So, what happened here? We cancelled the “o” and again, we joined
these two words “does” and “not” and it became “doesn’t”, and you can always know how to
spell this contraction or this short form because of where we put the apostrophe. We
put the apostrophe, this little comma that’s in the in the air, in the place where we take
out a letter. So, we put it here instead of the “o” and we put it here instead of the
“o”. So, let’s go through these. I don’t work, You don’t work, We don’t work, They don’t
work. Now, let’s go to he, she, and it. Remember, he, she, and it is always going to be a little
bit different. Let’s hear it and say it: He doesn’t work, She doesn’t work, It doesn’t
work. Let’s say the phone, the computer, it doesn’t work, okay? Now, let’s go to the questions. So, what happens
in the questions? In the question, we also have to use that helping verb: “do”. “Do”
here, and “does” down here, and we have to change the order, so instead of saying “I
do”, we say “Do I?”, alright? So, repeat it after me: Do I work? I don’t know, I don’t
remember. Do you work? Do we work? Do they work? Down here, you would say, with he, she,
and it: Does he work? Does she work? Does it work? Alright? Now usually, of course,
you’re not just going to say “Do you work?” You might say something more than that. Do
you work on Fridays? Do you work Monday to Friday? Do you work at the bank? Alright?
So usually there’s something more, but I’ve just put the basic form here so that you understand
the structure of how to use this tense. Now, another important point is that sometimes,
when we ask questions, we don’t just start with “do” or “does”, but we need to add a
question word, right? So, maybe you want to say “where”. What are the question words,
first of all: who, what, when, where, why, how, how much, how many, how often, okay?
These are all what are called question words, but if you have one of these question words,
all you have to do, it’s really easy, the only thing you have to do is to put that question
word right before this structure. So, “Where do you work?”, right? When do you work? Why
do you work? How much do you work? How often do you work? But we’re keeping the same structure
and we still need to have that helping verb “do”. The same down here: Where does he work?
When does she work? Okay? So, keep that structure and even if you have a question word, don’t
worry, just put it at the beginning. So, here we have some examples: Where do you live?
What do you do? Okay? But the most important thing to remember is
this part, okay? He works. She works. It works. This is the only place in the entire board
where we’re adding an “s” to the verb itself. Everywhere else, we’re just using the base
form of the verb, right? So, let’s say our verb is “to work”. So, here it’s “work”. I
work, I don’t work, Do you work? He works, here it’s different, but after that, it goes
back to the base form of the verb, right? He doesn’t work. Does he work? So even though
with he, she, and it in the positive sentence we add the “s”, but here in the negative,
no, go back to the base form and in the question, go back to the base form of the word “work”,
but you do need to remember that in that positive sentence, add the “s”, okay? So, that’s the
structure of the present simple tense. It’s really pretty straightforward, you just need
to practice it and you will get it. Now, let’s look at some of the spelling changes
we need to make in the present simple tense. We only need to make those changes, as I mentioned
earlier, when we’re using he, she, or it, because, for example, we say “I work” but
“He works”, right? So what was the spelling change we needed there? We had to add an “s”.
And most of the time, with most verbs, all you need to do is add that “s”. For example,
dance becomes dances. You can say it after me as well, okay? Cook – cooks. Sleep – sleeps.
Alright? So there, all we did, we just added the “s” for the he, she, or it. Next, if the verb ends with an s, or an sh,
or a ch, or an x, then we need to add “es”. And we can almost hear it, okay? Just listen.
For example, kiss – kisses. You see that we’re hearing “kisses” “es” a little bit – it’s
a little bit longer, so that tells us we need to add an “es”. The next one, wash becomes
washes. Teach – teaches. Fix – fixes. Okay? So, that’s another change. Another one is
verbs ending in a consonant and y. What do I mean by that? If we look at this verb: study,
it ends with a y, right? And just before the y, we have a consonant. What’s a consonant?
Anything that’s not a vowel is a consonant. So, what’s a vowel? A vowel in English is
a, e, i, o, or u. Everything else: b, d, g, x, etc., these are all consonants. So, d is
a consonant. Or here, in the word try, we have a y and before that, we have a consonant,
right? So, what happens in those cases? We have to drop that last y and we have to add
“ies”. You’ve probably seen this lots of times, okay, but this is actually what’s happening.
So, study becomes studies. Try becomes tries, okay? You’ll get it, you’ll see. Fry – fries,
right? Like French fries, okay? Alright. So, then, last of all, there are some other
verbs. They’re usually irregular verbs, okay? These are the most common patterns, but there
are a few verbs where the ending might be different in one way or another, okay? Sometimes
the verb really changes and you have to pay attention to that. You may be familiar with
many of these already, but here are a few examples. Go becomes like “I go”, “He goes”.
“I do”, “She does”. “I have”, “It has”. So you see that in some cases, the verb changed
completely, okay? So these are the most common patterns for spelling changes in the present
simple tense. Now, let’s look at how to give short answers
in English. See, in real conversation, when someone asks you a question, we don’t usually
repeat the whole question in our answer. We just give what’s called like a short answer.
Let me give you an example. If someone says, “Do they need help?”, then you can just say,
in short, either “Yes, they do” or “No, they don’t”. So, we do not have to say “Yes, they
need help”, right? You don’t have to repeat that whole question. You just give what’s
called the short answer. And how do you know how to shorten it? It’s really easy. So, if
the question starts with “Do”, like this, right? Then your answer will include some
form of “do” or “don’t”, depending on if it’s a positive sentence or a negative one. So,
we see here “Do they need help?” “Yes they do.”, right? Or “No, they don’t.” Alright?
So, the “do”, the way the question starts is the way you will be able to answer it,
alright. It’s really pretty simple, it really is. The important thing to remember is that
in the affirmative or positive answer, we cannot shorten it, okay? There is no way to
shorten that correctly. So here, we have to say “Yes, they do”, but here we can use the
short form, or that contraction that we learned, and you can say “No, they don’t”. Alright? Let’s look at another example. This time,
I think you’ll be able to apply the principle yourself. So, the question is “Does he speak
French?”. So, how did it start? With “does”. So, what are our options? “Yes, he does.”,
right? Or “No, he doesn’t.” Okay? Again, the “does” is used in the short answer. “Yes,
he does.” “No, he doesn’t.” Got it? Alright. So, based on that, you can see that you could
answer any question that someone’s asking you in present simple by just listening carefully
to the question, but you do have to pay attention also to the subject here. So for example,
in this last one, “Do you like this song?”, somebody asks you, “Do you like this song?”.
So your answer – they’re asking you, so you can’t say “Yes, you”, you have you say “Yes,
I”. “Yes, I do”, the “do” comes into play again, or “No, I don’t.” So again, you do
see the same principle applied all the way. And again, remember, in the positive form,
you cannot shorten it, but in the negative form you can and you should shorten it because
that’s how we normally speak, and these short answers are used a lot in normal conversation,
so it would be a good idea for you to learn them and it’s really pretty fast and I think
you might have already learned them. So, do you understand? You could say “Yes, I do!”
I hope that’s what you said, okay? Alright. Now, let’s look at some common mistakes that
students often make when they start using the present simple tense, and this way you’ll
know what to be careful of so that you don’t make these kind of mistakes, alright? Let’s
look. So usually the mistakes are of four different kinds. Sometimes, the mistake is
in the tense itself. So remember we mentioned at the beginning that there can be present
simple and present continuous, and that present simple is for something permanent and present
continuous is for something temporary. So sometimes, learners get mixed up between these
two tenses. So, let’s say in this example that this person lives in Tokyo, right? It’s
not just for a little while, it’s where that person lives. So, if that person said “I am
living in Tokyo”, that would be wrong. If that’s where the person stays permanently,
he or she should say “I live in Tokyo”. They could say “I am living in Tokyo” only if it’s
something temporary, alright? So, that is one mistake that’s sometimes made with the
present simple, that confusion between it and present continuous. Now, let’s look at
another kind of mistake. That’s when a mistake is made with the verb form. You’ll find it
because now you’re good at this, okay? Ready, let’s read. These are all mistakes, okay,
so these are all wrong, we’re going to correct them together. The sentence right now says
“We likes to travel.” So, the verb is wrong. What should it be? “We like to travel”. Say
it after me: We like to travel. Good. Here’s a mistake, the same thing in the verb form,
but in a negative sentence: “They doesn’t eat vegetables.” That’s wrong, you know that.
What should it be? “They don’t eat vegetables”. Say it after me: “They don’t eat vegetables”.
Good. And here’s a mistake in the question: “Does you talk to him often?” That’s wrong.
We can’t say that. We need to say what? “Do you”. Say it after me: “Do you talk to him
often?” Good. Alright? So those are verb form kind of mistakes. Another mistake that’s possible
is in spelling. We looked at the many kinds of spelling, right, and you need to make the
changes. So here, the person wrote “She trys to save money”, but the spelling of the verb
is incorrect, because here it’s a y and before that it’s a consonant, remember? So what should
it be? “Tries”. They had to drop that “y” and add “ies”. So, you’ll pick up those spelling
changes, okay? Just pay attention when you’re reading and so on and it’ll come to you unnaturally. Next, sometimes an entire word is missing.
So, let’s look at this one. This is a question: “What time you finish work?”. It almost sounds
right, but it’s not. It’s wrong. Grammatically in English, that’s wrong. Can you understand
it? Yes, you can understand it, but it’s still wrong. So, how do we correct it? Did you find
the mistake? So we should say “What time do you finish work?”. So, what was missing was
that helping word, okay, that helping verb, remember, we do have to add that even if you
have a question word here like “what time”, alright? “What time do you finish work?”.
So, these are the four main kinds of mistakes that you have to be careful of. In tense,
using the wrong tense, using the wrong verb form, making any kind of spelling mistakes,
or leaving out an essential verb or helping verb. Alright? That’s it! You’ve been learning a lot, so now it’s time
to practice. Let’s get started. Number 1: I take, but he ________. What would
you say in present simple? I take, he takes, right? You have to add that “s” there, right?
Very good. Now, let’s work it the other way. Number 2: She does, We _______. Do you know
it? We do. Very good. Number 3: You enjoy. She ______. Yes, I can
hear you. She enjoys. Very good. Alright Now, let’s make some phrases negative, alright,
so we’re going from positive to negative. Number 4: They study. They ________________.
Use the contraction. They don’t study. Right? “Don’t” being short for what? Do not. Right,
you’ve got it. Number 5: The next one. He sings. Make it
negative. He ________________. Yes, He doesn’t sing. “Doesn’t” is short for what? Does not.
Very good. Now, let’s make some questions. So, let’s
read the sentence first. Number 6: She wants to buy a new phone. How would we ask the question? What’s the
helping verb you have to use, helping word? Do, or does, giving you a clue there. Here,
it’s “She”, so we have to say, “Does she want to buy a new phone?” Okay, so remember, we
come back to the base form of the verb and we have to use “do” or “does”, but because
it’s she, we’re saying “does”. “Does she want to buy a new phone?” Okay? Good. Let’s do the last one. Number 7: They sell books online. Ask a question
about that. Again, what are you going to start with? “Do” this time, right. “Do they sell
books online?”, right? Okay? Why “do”? Because now we’re talking about they. And why “does”
here? Because we were talking about “she”, alright. So, if you got those right, that’s great!
If you got any wrong, maybe you can go back later and check those parts, but we’re going
to practice some more, we’re going to learn a little bit more, and you’ll get it for sure
by the end of this, okay. Stick with me. To review: you know the present simple tense
when you know when you use it, which we talked about, and how to use it. And how do you know
that you know how to use it? When you can do these things: you can make a positive sentence,
a negative sentence, and a question. For example, you should be able to say easily “They live
in Amsterdam.” or “They don’t live in Amsterdam.” or “Do they live in Amsterdam?”. You should
be able to switch easily and comfortably and quickly and correctly between these three
sentences, okay? So, remember, this is the present simple tense,
but this is an entire series that we have of English tenses, so from the present simple,
you can go to the next class which is on the present continuous tense, and that way you
can take your English forward step by step, alright? And if you’d like a little more practice
on this tense, the present simple tense, go to www.engvid.com , alright? Thank you very
much for watching, I know you’re a serious student, and I know you’re going to make good