flesl.net grammar glossary::simple present

simple present

•• The simple present is one of the eight basic english verb tenses.

• in all cases except for the third-person singular, the base form is used (Harry and Sarah always PLAY tennis on Monday morning)

• in the third-person singular, "s" or "es" is added to the base form (Harry always PLAYS tennis on Monday morning)

-"es" is used only when the base form ends in "s," "z," "sh," or "ch" (Dick always WATCHES hockey on Saturday evening)

•• The simple present is used in two very important ways:

1. to describe a state or condition thought of as extending into the past and the future without definite limit. For example:

a. a personal condition: Harry LIVES in a big house in an expensive neighbourhood.

b. a scientific fact Water FREEZES at 0° C.

c. a general truth about life: Nobody LOVES you when you're down and out.

2. to describe habitual actions or repeated events in an indefinite period of time that covers the past, present and future

a. a habitual action: Harry TRAVELS to Japan at least twice a year.

b. a repeated event: The bell always RINGS at noon and at midnight.

•• And in two less important ways:

3. to refer to an event that begins and ends more or less at the time of speaking (the "instantaneous present")

for example (an exclamation): Look, here COMES Harry.

for example (a “performative”): “I advise you to see your lawyer as soon as possible,“ Jane said to Jill.

4. in special circumstances to speak of a past or future event:

for example (a dramatic narrative): When I told him the truth, Harry LOOKS at me and SAYS “Get out right now!”

for example (a scheduled future event): Tom and Dick ARRIVE in Ankara at ten tomorrow morning.