There are many reasons why we use the present simple in English. This blog post will explain all the present simple uses in English with clear descriptions, examples and images to help you understand why we use the present simple.
You can read more about forming present simple sentences and present simple questions. Basically, the present simple is 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 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.
In this blog post, I’ll got through each main use of the present simple one by one.
Things in General and Facts
The present simple is used to talk about something that happens in general or to talk about facts, it doesn’t matter if the fact is true or false, only that the speaker believes it to be true. The speaker believes that the fact was true in the past, is true at the present time and will be true in the future.
Cats eat mice.
London is the capital city of England.
As you can see, both these sentences don’t indicate either the past, present or future. Instead they infer that the speaker believes these statements to be true in the past, true now and will continue to be true in the future.
Here we use the present simple to talk about actions that are repeated. For example, something you do as a habit, something you do every day, how often you do something or anything else that is repeated.
Here you can see that the present simple is used for a repeated action, repeated in the past, present and future.
I walk to school every day.
Does he watch football every week?
My mother cooks dinner every evening.
She drinks tea 3 times a day.
The first sentence shows a habit of walking to school. The second sentence is asking about a hobby of watching football. The third example shows a routine of cooking dinner every day. The final example shows how often somebody drinks tea.
Here we use the present simple to talk about a scheduled event in the near future.
I start work at 7 o’clock.
The plane takes off in 20 minutes.
When does she go to work?
The class begins at 8 o’clock.
As you can see from the 4 examples and the present simple timeline, we are talking about something that happens in the near future.
The present simple is also used for something that is happening right now and is not a continuous action. The present simple is used to indicate that something is either happening or not happening right now.
He isn’t at home now.
Is Sarah at work?
In these 2 sentences the speaker is talking and asking about something that is happening right now. They want to know where Sarah is now and they are saying that somebody isn’t at home right now.