First, let’s review the simple present conjugations by conjugating the verb “to know”
– I know
– you know
– he knows
– she knows
– it knows
– Trevor knows
– we know
– they know
As you can see, the first person subject (I), the second person subject (you) and the plurals (we, they) are all unconjugated, they remain unchanged from the infinitive form (to ___ ). Conjugating any third person subject requires that the verb has an” –s” added to it. This applies for any verb in simple present tense, though some verbs take an “–es” or “-ies” instead of just an “–s”, which can be tricky to remember. Grammar is just tricky sometimes, but there are some great classes for help with the essentials.
The rules about when to use “-es” and when to use “-ies” take just a minute to learn. If the verb you are conjugating ends with the letter
– “S” as in the verb “hiss” she hisses
– “Z” as in the verb “blitz” he blitzes
– “X” as in the verb “fix” it fixes
– “O” as in the verb “go” Mark goes
– “SH” as in the verb “clash” she clashes
– “CH” as in the verb “fetch” he fetches
then you must add an “-es” to the end when using the simple present tense for the third person.
Use “-ies” when the verb you are conjugating ends with a “Y” as in the verb “bully”. Don’t forget to remove the “Y” too (“to bully” becomes “he bullies”). This isn’t always the case,, verbs where the “y” makes an “A” sound, like the verbs “say” and “play” for example, are conjugated with just a “-s” (says, and plays)..
Any other verb just takes the “-s” in third person simple present tense. If verbs are giving you trouble, check out this class for ESL.
Now that your know the rules regarding the proper conjugation of a verb for simple present tense, it is time to review the uses of simple present tense. There are 4 basic uses of the simple present tense.
- The first use is for indicating that an action performed regularly. Example: He WATCHES television after school.
- The second use is for indicating that something is generally true or always true. Example: She STUDIES hard for her classes.
- The third use is for indicating that an action is going to happen in the near future or at a certain time. Example: The café CLOSES in five minutes.
- The fourth use is for indicating that an action that is happening now, Example: I KNOW the answer to the question she is asking. This use is only for verbs that are not used in the present progressive tense (-ing).
Verbs not using the progressive tense to indicate that they are happening now are generally indicating a “state of being” rather than an “action”. Some other verbs in this category include : to be, to seem, to need, to owe, to possess, to own, to love, to hate. (it is incorrect to say “I am hating you” to indicate that you feel hate right now) The progressive tense is used to indicate an action that is being performed now, while the simple present is used to indicate a state of being that is true now. This can be a difficult distinction to get a handle on, for more on this check out this class on Advanced English Grammar.
Now here’s a chance for you to try some exercises to see how well you understand the use of the simple present tense. We’ll provide some sentences and it’s your job to fill in the correct conjugation of the verb in parenthesis. Answers are at the bottom so you can check how well you did once you finish the exercise.
- Trevor (to get) _____ ready for school in the morning and then he ( to catch) _____ the bus at 7am He (to sit) ____ at the back with his friends. They always (to tell) _____ lots of jokes.
- I ( to love) _____ basketball, it’s my favorite sport. I (to play) ____ for the varsity team at my school. We (to practice) _____ every day after class. The coach (to say) ____ we might win the championship this year.
- You (to come) _____ to class without finishing your homework and the teacher (to yell) _____ at you. You (to tell)_____ her that it’s an honest mistake, but she (to cry) ____ out that you have made this mistake too often.
- He (to try)_____ to be cool around the girl he has a crush on, but she (to know)____ his secret.
- The chef (to bake)_____ fresh bread every morning. First he (to mix)_____ the dough and then (to put)_____ it in the oven. His bread (to taste)_____ better than any other bread I’ve ever eaten.
This should give you a chance to practice your skills. Answers to the exercises are at the bottom of the page. If you feel like you’ve mastered the simple present tense and are ready to master more verb tenses then dive into this class on the 5 most useful English tenses.
- gets, catches, sits, tell
- love, play, practice, says
- come, yells, tell, cries
- tries, knows
- bakes, mixes, puts