PRESENT SIMPLE TENSE – Part 1 – Where to Use Simple Present – Basic English Grammar

Do you know where to use the present simple
tense and how to use it correctly? In this lesson, I’m going
to teach you the four main uses of this tense, and how
to avoid common mistakes that many people make with it. So let’s start. Welcome to my series of lessons on the tenses. Before we start, as always, if you have any
questions at all, just ask me in the comments section
below, and I will talk to you there. OK, in this lesson, I will teach you the four
main uses of the present simple tense – that is, to
talk about habits and routines, permanent situations,
facts about the world, and finally, the very important
– talking about states with state verbs. And there’s
a quiz at the end to check your understanding. Alright well first – what is the present
simple tense? Well, quite simply, it’s the most basic
tense in English and it’s the first tense that you will learn
in any English course that you take. It’s very easy:
you just take a subject and you add a verb. A subject
is a word like I – You – We – They – He – She – It –
or a name like Mike or Emma. Let’s take ‘I’ for now. And let’s add a verb – say ‘drink.’ Let’s complete this
sentence so it sounds meaningful – “I drink tea every
morning.” And there you have the present simple tense. Now, what does that sentence mean? Well, when I say
“I drink tea every morning” you know that I do the
action regularly. Now you see a timeline on the screen. Let’s say this side is the past, over on
that side is the future, and in the middle is right now. So you know
that I drink tea on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday,
Thursday, Friday, Saturday and so on. You can see that
it repeats. So this is a habit. And this sentence shows us the first use of
the present simple tense – that is to talk about habits
and routines, things that we do regularly or repeatedly. Now it would be wrong to say “I’m drinking
tea every morning” – because this is a habit, and
for habits you must use the present simple tense. Alright, here are some more examples: “Mike
visits his parents on weekends.” Again, this is something that
Mike does regularly – every weekend. In our next example,
“Emma usually has dinner at eight thirty.” Meaning that
it’s part of her routine to eat dinner at eight thirty
every day. In both of these sentences, you should
NOT use the continuous form – remember that. OK, I want you to notice one other thing in
these examples. You can see how frequently or how often the
action happens – every day, on weekends etc. When we talk about habits
or routines, we normally use these kinds of expressions. The word ‘every’, for example, is very
common – in phrases like every morning, afternoon, every day,
week, month etc. I said “I drink tea every morning.” Another example is
“They go to Mexico on vacation every year.” You can also
use prepositions like ‘on’ or ‘in’. As in
“Mike visits his parents on weekends.” or
“Dennis goes fishing on Fridays.” And then there are
expressions like once a week, three times a year etc. For example, “We visit the dentist twice
a year for a checkup.” Apart from these expressions, we also use
what are called ‘frequency adverbs’. If you remember, one of our examples
was “Emma usually has dinner at eight thirty.” The word ‘usually’ is a frequency adverb. There are many others like this –
if you do something all the time, that is one hundred
percent of the time, then you can use ‘always’. For example, “Meena always walks to work.” That means she never takes the bus or she
never drives to work. But hey, there’s another frequency adverb
there – ‘never’. And that means that something happens zero
percent of the time. It does not happen at all. Then there are other adverbs in the middle
– you see that some of these are positive like ‘usually’
or ‘often’, some are more neutral like ‘sometimes’
– when I say “Alejandro sometimes plays video games.” It’s like
50-50. And then there are frequency adverbs that
are negative like ‘rarely ’ – “I rarely
watch TV” for instance – meaning I watch very, very little TV. So remember these frequency expressions and
adverbs, and also remember: when we talk about habits
or routines, we don’t use continuous or –ing forms. Alright, now
let’s talk about the next use of the present simple tense. The second use of the present simple is to
talk about permanent situations. What do I mean by that? Well, I have a brother and
“My brother lives in Arizona.” When I say that he lives in Arizona,
is that a vacation? No. Is that temporary –
just for a week for so? No. It means that my brother lives there permanently. You can see this on the timeline. Maybe he started
living there at some point in the past but it’s
his home now. So here, we’re talking about something
that is not going to change – so we say that it’s permanent. A common mistake is to say
“My brother is living in Arizona.” If you use an –ing
or continuous form, then that makes the situation temporary. For example, I could say,
“My brother is living with me for a few months.” When you hear that, it sounds like it’s
not permanent. It’s temporary. But when you want to talk about a
permanent situation, remember to always use the
present simple and NOT the continuous tense. Here’s another example: “Olga speaks Spanish.” Obviously, this is not going to change –
Olga is not going to forget Spanish, so again, this is a permanent situation. And talking about myself,
I can say, “I work as a teacher.” It’s wrong to say “I’m working as a
teacher.” –
if I say that, then it means my job is temporary, maybe just for a couple or months or so. But my job is a long term job, so I use the
present simple tense. OK, let’s now move on to the third use of
the present simple, and that is talking about
facts. What are facts? Well, facts are truths –
that is, they are statements about the world that are true. For example,
“The capital of Canada is Ottawa.” Yes, it’s pronounced Ottawa – au-ta-wa. This is a fact about the world. Here are some more examples:
“Water boils at a hundred degrees Celsius.” “Birds fly.” “Two plus two equals four.” These are all true statements – remember,
when we spoke about permanent situations like “My brother lives in Arizona” I said those
situations are not going to change. Well, these sentences
on the screen are also permanent situations (in fact, these are really permanent situations
because they have always been true and they’re never going to change). The only difference is that these are not
personal situations – they talk about the world. With these as well, we don’t use continuous
forms – only the present simple tense. Alright, let’s now turn to the last topic
in our lesson – that is, talking about states using state
verbs. In the beginning I said that this use of the
present simple is very important. It’s very important
because this is an area where learners of English
make a lot of mistakes. But what are states? Well, take this example –
“I want ice cream.” Unfortunately, there isn’t any
ice cream in my studio, but the important point is
that I cannot say “I am wanting ice cream.” But why is that? Now if you remember, I said
“I drink tea every morning.” That’s a habit. But… if I had tea now, I could say
“I’m drinking tea.” because it’s happening now. In the same way, “I want ice cream now.” –
it’s not a habit, it’s not a permanent situation –
it’s right now, but still I cannot say “I’m wanting ice cream.” “I’m drinking tea” is OK, but “I’m
wanting ice cream” is not. Well, to understand why that is, you need
to know the difference between activities and
states. An activity is something that we do physically
– it’s an action. The verb ‘drink’ is a real physical action
– it starts when I start drinking, it happens
continuously (I keep drinking and drinking the tea) and
then it finishes. With this type of verb, you can use both
simple and continuous forms. But the verb ‘want’ is
not like that. You don’t start and finish wanting. And you cannot do it continuously because
it’s not an action – so we say that it’s a
state. We don’t normally use state verbs in –ing
forms – we use them in the present simple tense. We just saw that the verb ‘want’ is a
state verb – in the same way, other verbs that express
wants and likes are also state verbs. You might say,
for example, “Susan loves to sing.” or “I hate crowded places.” Since these verbs are
state verbs, it’s very important to remember that
we don’t use –ing forms with these. Verbs of thought and opinion are state verbs
as well – you can think of these as ‘mental verbs’
– verbs that express the state of the mind. For example,
“Do you remember me?” or “I think Ben is really smart.” Similarly, we have verbs of the senses –
see, hear, smell, taste etc. For example,
“Your perfume smells really nice.” or “This pizza tastes awful.” Then we have appearance verbs. As in these sentences:
“That house seems to be empty.” and
“Naomi looks really beautiful in that dress.” Verbs of possession or relation are also state
verbs. And this is an area where mistakes are very
common. For example, “I have two children.” The present simple tense should be used here
because this shows the relationship between me and
my children. So I cannot say “I’m having two children.” –
it’s a common mistake. Another example is
“The Mitchells (that means the Mitchell family)
have a swimming pool at home.” Remember: don’t say
“are having”. Alright, and finally, there are many other
state verbs – you see some of the common ones on the screen
now. It’s a good idea for you to memorize as
many state verbs as you can, so that you don’t make mistakes
with them. Now, a quick note: sometimes, you will see
state verbs used in –ing forms. For example, McDonalds uses
“I’m lovin’ it” as their slogan. This usage is informal,
and in most situations, when you see a state verb in
–ing form, it is informal use. In a different lesson,
I will teach you where you can use continuous forms
of state verbs correctly, but for now, as a general rule,
just remember – always use state verbs in the
present simple tense. OK, let’s now do a quick recap of what we
learned in this lesson. In this lesson, we learned four uses of the
present simple: the first is to talk about habits and routines
– we looked at some common frequency expressions
(like every morning, on Fridays etc.) and adverbs
(like always, sometimes, never and so on). Then, we talked about permanent situations
– that is, situations that don’t change. Then we turned to talking about facts – that
is, statements about the world that are true. And finally,
we discussed states with state verbs. Remember that
state verbs are verbs which are not actions. They don’t happen continuously and they
don’t finish. With these, we normally don’t use –ing
forms. Alright,
if you’re ready, it’s now time for a test to see if
you can use the present simple tense correctly. On the screen, there are ten sentences. Some of them
are correct and some are wrong. For each sentence,
I want you say if it is correct or not. If a sentence is wrong, change it to the correct
form. The four uses of the present simple are listed
on the screen, so you can look at them and decide your answers. Pause the video now if you want, think about
your answers, then play the video again and check. Alright let’s look the answers. Number one is wrong –
it should be “I have two brothers” because this is a state –
the verb ‘have’ shows relation here. That’s why
we use the present simple. Number two is correct. It’s a permanent situation. So no –ing form. Number three is wrong – it should be
“I always get up at 7.” Because this sentence
talks about a routine – it’s my habit to get up at 7. Number four is also wrong. But here,
using the present simple tense is the mistake. It should be “We’re reading.” You should not use
the present simple here because this is not a habit,
it’s not permanent situation, it’s not a fact about
the world, and it’s not a state – it’s an action –
reading – and it’s happening now. That’s why
we use the continuous tense. Number five is correct . That’s because
this is a temporary situation, not a permanent situation. See the difference between this sentence and
number two – “Tanya works as a nurse.” Sentence number two
expresses a situation which is not going to change –
it’s permanent. But in number five, we’re saying that
Jason is working on an important report today, so that
means it is temporary – it’s just today. For that reason,
we use the continuous form. Number six is wrong – “I don’t understand”
is the correct form. Because ‘understand’ is a state verb. It’s a verb that express a mental state. Number seven is wrong as well – it should
be “Do you think it’s raining outside?” Because this question is about something
happening now, at this moment. So the present simple
tense should not be used here. Number eight is correct. It talks about habit or routine. Number nine is wrong –
“My grandparents live in India” is the right answer. Because this is a permanent situation. And finally, number ten is also wrong – it
should be “The word huge means very big.” Because this is a fact. So you cannot use the continuous form here
– you need to use the present simple. OK, how many of these did you get right? Let me know in the comments section below. Subscribe to this channel by clicking the
subscribe button. I hope you enjoyed this lesson and I will
see you in next lesson.

100 thoughts on “PRESENT SIMPLE TENSE – Part 1 – Where to Use Simple Present – Basic English Grammar

  1. Hey there, I hope you enjoyed this lesson. Let me know if you have any questions. Also check out:
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    ➜ All PRONUNCIATION lessons:
    ➜ All TENSES lessons:

  2. why in the negative sentence has become have like
    she doesn"t has a book .become , She doesn"t have a book

  3. I don’t know how to thank you for this useful video
    Thanks you🌹

  4. Hi ganesh, you have mentioned in this video that stative verbs can be used in 'ing' form in an informal way. I have gone through all your videos and have not been able to find anything related to that could u please explain how it works coz I have heard native speakers use it in books and in conversations..has it got anything to do with verbs that can be stative as well as dynamic such as 'look' and 'looking' or 'smell' and 'smelling'….

  5. Voowww…. How knowledgeable….. Love u sir…. Love from Tahira love from Kashmir

  6. Your teaching is excellent. Your videos are helpful. Keep up the good work.

  7. Nice exclamation but ï hard there are 7 Ways to express simple présent .can u plz explain them.

  8. Sir can we use "I will drink tea every morning" instead of "I drink tea every morning"

  9. Sir please explain the difference between simple present and present simple

  10. Hello,can you please upload the videos of all the 12 tenses.

  11. The way u explain simple present tense i have never seen anybody teach lyk dis …u r exceptional…hats off …n reallly thnku for teaching us bcz now a days so mch institutions has opened nd they demanding huge money for teaching english but u without any fee tech us really well…Thnku once again

  12. 13:20 the 1st sentence is right in case your mom is giving birth to twins in the operation theatre rn

  13. It is impossible to handle this stuff by watching grammar textbooks. But it is possible to understand this by watching teaching videos like this. Of course, practice is a thing that is necessary.

  14. Thank you very much sir.
    Your videos make me to teach in a better way

  15. First of all thak you teacher your classes are great, I have a question ¿How do I say if I talk about routines? I wake up at 7, I thank God for another day, I brush my teeth, I make my bed, etc., or I wake up at 7, thank God for another day, brush my teeth, make my bed, etc. ¿How is correct? Thanks in advance teacher

  16. Which one is correct..
    1. Dennis goes fishing on Fridays? Or
    2. Dennis goes for fishing on Fridays.

  17. Sir why not Tanya is working as she may be temporarily working in hospital

  18. Sir am you're student from Pakistan you' are best English teacher in world I really appreciate youre work and I learn correct English with you're lessons Thanku

  19. Thank you sir.. you will everdy day bring sir .. in 8th class my teacher is teaching tense ….. please sir next rule and every day bring

  20. Sir pleaS tell us the use of present simple in formal future actions as in 10 class tenses plz

  21. sir please make me correct
    i drink tea every morning ??? or
    i take tea every morning?? please tell me which one is correct or both sentences are correct ??

  22. Hello Sir, kindly post more test for each video . Thanks for teaching us.

  23. Thank you Sir. Your vedios realy help alot. Please do you have pdfs for these classes.

  24. Can you please explain how can action be a state?

    "what DO you whant/love/hate? etc." is correct form of question instead of "what ARE you . . ", because those main verbs are action verbs.

    But action feels like kind of something that is continuous on timeline. On contrary, state by definition is something static at spesific point in time.

    It is very counterintuitive to say that verb is action-state verb. Of course, you didn't say that here, but it folows as consequence, isn't it?

  25. Hi sir, I can't speak English with fluency but wanna speak like native speaker please help me ,post any video that will help me to lean English
    Thanks in advance

  26. Sir, first of all I am thankful to your English teaching videos uploaded in You tube in the name of Learn English Lab. The way of explanation on any topic is very simple and the examples are very easy to understand. There are many students and people working in offices are able to speak English. But, fluency and accent is not up to the mark. Your videos are very much helpful to improve their fluency and accent. In this way, you are really doing a great job. May God Bless you.

  27. Sir, why can't it be like this: Do you think, it will rain outside? (score: 8/10 :D)

  28. You are best teacher i am understan this tense simple present i hope all teacher some you

  29. I need a detail classes on all tenses ie like u given clear detail on present simple part 1&2

  30. Thank you Mr. Ganesh for wonderful lesson. I learned more and I got 7 right answer on your quiz I hope next time getting better score . Thanks again and God bless you.

  31. Excellent way of teaching. We get engrossed in listening to u. Never seen teaching this simple, easy and interesting 👏👏👏 Great job sir

  32. Sir can we use s for more than two subjects for example ram and sham takes a hike in the morning to keep themselves healthy.
    So which one of those two is right? Is that takes or take please clear me out about this doubt…please reply as soon as possible…

  33. Hi gannesh how are you? So, do you have a video with continuous present as a topic. Tnx a lot for your work!

  34. It really is simple to understand and they are all very clear…i dont know if u already did it but can u do present continuous, present perfect and other tenses like this? Thank u so much

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