Understanding Simple Present tense: Formation, use and signal words

You will deal with the Simple Present tense right at the beginning of learning English. It is the basic tense of the English language and you should become thoroughly familiar with it. It is used to talk about actions, states or events in the present.

We'll show you how to form the Simple Present tense, when to use it and give you some example sentences and signal words to help you understand it quickly.

How to form the Simple Present tense

The formation of the present tense is formed with regular verbs by using the infinitive, the basic form of the English verb. Only in the third person singular is an -s or an -es added. You can remember the saying "He, She, It, the S must go with". Below you can look at two regular verbs in the conjunctive. You will see how easy it is to understand the Present Tense.

Regular verbs of the Simple Present tense in English

To talk

I talk
You talk
He/She/It talks
We talk
They talk

Example sentences in Simple Present tense

We talk about our hobbies.
He talks about his favourite food.
I talk about my new job.

To walk

I walk
You walk
He/She/It walks
We walk
They walk

Example sentences in Simple Present tense

I walk to my parents.
Maria walks a Ten thousand steps every day.
We walk to the restaurant close by.

Irregular verbs in Simple Present tense

Besides the easy-to-understand regular verbs, there are also some irregular verbs in Simple Present tense. These do not follow a uniform structure and unfortunately have to be learned by heart. However, the list of irregular verbs in the Simple Present tense in English is relatively manageable compared to other languages. This will help you master English quickly despite this small obstacle. It should be noted that only the third person singular is irregular in the Simple Present tense.

Take a look at the following examples of irregular verbs in Simple Present tense.

Irregular verbs in Simple Present tense

To be

I am
You are
He/She/It is
We are
They are

Example sentences

I am at work.
You are already at the restaurant.
He is a doctor.
She is from Spain.
We are happy.
They are in the park.

To have

I have
You have
He/She/It has
We have
They have

Example sentences

I have a car.
You have my wallet.
He has his phone in his hand.
She has some free time.
We have a break.
You have too much money.

To go

I go
You go
He/She/It goes
We go
They go

Example sentences

I go to work in the morning.
You go to school.
He goes to the cinema.
She goes to the forest.
We go to the next bench.
They go to the kitchen.

The use of the Simple Present tense

The Simple Present is used to describe actions, states or events that take place in the present. Another use case for the Simple Present is when making general statements or stating facts. Check out the list below to learn when to use the Simple Present:

  • Regular, recurring actions
  • General statements
  • Present or permanent states
  • Descriptions of characteristics
  • Scientific facts

When using the Simple Present in English, you should keep in mind that the Simple Present is often used in combination with signal words. These will help you, especially as a beginner, to understand in which situations you need to use the English Simple Present.

Example sentences in Simple Present tense sorted by use case

General statements

The earth revolves around the sun.
Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius.
Dogs bark.
Cats chase mice.
I work in a hospital.

Regular action

You go to the park every week.
I play tennis every monday.
Peter plays chess every day.
They eat twice a day.
He watches a film every night.

Permanent conditions

I live in Malta.
He has a brother.
They like ice cream.
She speaks three languages.
I own two cars.

State facts

The sun is a star.
The sky is blue.
Water is wet.
The grass is green.
Coffee contains caffeine.

Signal words for the Simple Present tense

Signalwort Example
Always I always go to work.
Usually He usually goes to the gym in the morning.
Often She often takes the bus to work.
Sometimes Sometimes, she walks to the bus station.
Rarely We rarely stay up late during the week.
Never He never drinks coffee after 5pm.
Every day/week/month/year I brush my teeth every morning and every night.
On Mondays/Tuesdays/etc. We have a team meeting every Monday at 10am.
In the morning/afternoon/evening I always have a cup of tea in the morning.
At night She likes to read a book in the evening.
Now Now he goes to the next station.
At the moment At the moment he does his homework.
Currently At the moment they learn maths.
Today Today I study at home.
Tomorrow Tomorrow you have to clean the kitchen.
Next week/month/year Next week is my holiday.
In the future In the future I'll eat healthier.
In general In general, I feel good.
Generally speaking Generally speaking, exercise is good for your health.
To be honest To be honest, I don't like pizza.

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