Present Simple Statements

By | April 22, 2013

Present simple statements are used to talk about things in general. We use it to express daily habits and activities that happen repeatedly or about facts and other things that are either true or we believe them to be true. It can be used to talk about actions that are permanent or long-lasting. It can also be used to talk about feelings, opinions and states of minds as well as timetables and schedules. Read more about present simple uses.

I decided to split the present simple into 2 blog posts. First of all, this post is focused around statements and second of all, the other blog post will be focused around questions and it can be found by clicking here.

I’ve further divided this blog post, “Present Simple Statements” into four categories. Firstly the verb ‘be’, secondly the verb ‘have’, thirdly other normal verbs and finally using the present simple with modal verbs. To begin with, here are some examples of present simple statements.

HabitsFeelings/Opinions
I smoke cigarettes.I love you.
I wake up at 5 am.I like pizza.
Repeated ActionsTimetables/Schedules
She walks to school.The train leaves for London at 10 am.
He plays football on Saturdays.The bus arrives at 10:30.
Facts/Truth
It is sunny today.
The shop opens at 10 am.

Present Simple Statements using the verb ‘be’

The verb ‘be’ can be changed to am/is/are. We use a different form of the verb depending on the the subject. Whether is it plural, singular, or the third person. You only use one verb in this simple sentence, the object that follows the verb ‘be’ with cannot be another verb. For example, you can’t say “I am play football”. If you said “I am playing football”, this would be the present continuous.

AffirmativeNegative
Subject + Verb (be) + ObjectsSubject + Verb (be) Not + Objects
I am hungry.I am not hungry.
We are hungry.We are not hungry.
They are hungry.They are not hungry.
He is hungry.He is not hungry.
She is hungry.She is not hungry.
It is hungry.It is not hungry.
You are hungry.You are not hungry.

If, for example, the subject isn’t a pronoun as described above, but it is something like ‘The shop is open’ then ‘The shop’ can be changed to ‘it’ and therefore you would use ‘is’. Similarly, if you wrote ‘My friends are hungry’ then ‘My friends’ can be changed to ‘they’ and therefore you would use ‘are’.

Present Simple Statements using the verb ‘have’

There are 2 forms of the verb ‘have’ and they are ‘have‘ and ‘has‘. Again, you would use a different form of the verb depending on the subject. Here you would use ‘has’ for the third person singular. Similarly, you can’t use a verb as the object in this sentence either. For example, you can’t say ‘I have play football’ and if you said, ‘I have to play football’, this would be the present perfect.

In the negative form of this statement, you don’t use ‘has’. Instead you would use ‘does’ and not ‘do’. You always use the word ‘have’.

Here it is important to note a difference between American and British English. American English uses only the word ‘have’ with the present simple, for example, ‘I have a dog’. On the other hand, the British sometimes add the word ‘got’, e.g. ‘I have got a dog’.

AffirmativeNegative
Subject + Verb (have) + ObjectsSubject + Do Not + Verb (have) + Objects
I have a dog.I do not have a dog.
We have a dog.We do not have a dog.
They have a dog.They do not have a dog.
He has a dog.He does not have a dog.
She has a dog.She does not have a dog.
It has a dog.It does not have a dog.
You have a dog.You do not have a dog.

Using ‘have’ with ‘got’, usually found in British English.

AffirmativeNegative
Subject + Verb (have) + Got + ObjectsSubject + Verb (have) + Not Got + Objects
I have got a dog.I have not got a dog.
We have got a dog.We have not got a dog.
They have got a dog.They have not got a dog.
He has got a dog.He has not got a dog.
She has got a dog.She has not got a dog.
It has got a dog.It has not got a dog.
You have got a dog.You have not got a dog.

Present Simple Statements using verbs

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We use either the main form of the verb or we add -s/-es for the third person singular. All other verbs would work the same as the example below. For example, you could change the verb ‘play’ with ‘go’, ‘walk’, ‘eat’, ‘drink’ or whatever.

In the negative form of this statement, you never add -s/-es to the verb. Instead you would add -es to the word ‘do’.

Present simple statements using the verb ‘play’.

AffirmativeNegative
Subject + Verb + ObjectsSubject + Do not + Verb + Objects
I play football.I do not play football.
We play football.We do not play football.
They play football.They do not play football.
He plays football.He does not play football.
She plays football.She does not play football.
It plays football.It does not play football.
You play football.You do not play football.

Present Simple Statements using modal verbs

It is important to talk about modal verbs with the present simple because they don’t behave the same way as other verbs. You don’t add -s/-es to the verb and there is no different form.

Here is a list of English modal verbs.

cancouldmaymightwill
wouldmustshallshouldought to
AffirmativeNegative
Subject Modal Verb + Verb + ObjectsSubject + Modal Verb + Not + Verb + Objects
I should go to work.I should not go to work.
We should go to work.We should not go to work.
They should go to work.They should not go to work.
He should go to work.He should not go to work.
She should go to work.She should not go to work.
It should go to work.It should not go to work.
You should go to work.You should not go to work.

Contractions

Contractions are where you can shorten the word using an apostrophe. Below is a list of contractions that can be used in the examples above.

I am – I’mIt is – It’s
We are – We’reYou are – You’re
They are – They’reDo not – Don’t
He is – He’sDoes not – Doesn’t
She is – She’sShould not – Shouldn’t

Use of the Present Simple

As stated above present simple statements are used to talk about things in general. We use it to express daily habits and activities that happen repeatedly. We also use it to talk about facts and other things that are true or we believe them to be true. It can be used to talk about actions that are permanent or long-lasting. It can also be used to talk about feelings, opinions and states of minds as well as timetables and schedules.

Glossary

Modal verb

Modal verbs are auxiliary verbs, sometimes known as helping verbs. They express things like possibility, probability, permission and obligation.

Object

The object is someone’s or something’s involvement in the subject’s performance of the verb.

Subject

The subject is the person, place or thing that is doing or being as defined by a particular verb.

Verb

A verb is an action word. It is used to describe an action, a state of mind or an occurrence.

Plural

A plural word or form means more than 1 in number.

Singular

Singular means only 1 in number.

Third-Person

A third-person designates a person or thing other than the speaker or the one being spoken to.

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Author: William Lake

I've been teaching English as a second language for a number of years. I'm currently teaching in Siem Reap, Cambodia. You can find me on Google Plus, Twitter and LinkedIn and StumbleUpon.