This lesson is in two parts. Page 1 explained how to form the English simple present. Page 2 describes how to use it.
In English, the simple present has two primary functions:
- state facts
- describe habitual actions
The simple present state facts and concepts that never change.
The simple present also describes habitual actions.
Verbs conjugated in the simple present are often preceded by an adverb of frequency. The range of frequency includes all possibilities, from never to always. Here are the most common English adverbs of frequency.
|0% ―――> ―――> 50% ―――> ―――> 100%|
|almost never||occasionally||almost always|
Examples with adverbs of frequency:
Note that the adverb of frequency is usually* placed between the subject and the verb.
*There are two exceptions.
1. The adverbs normally and usually are often placed at the beginning of a sentence and followed by a comma.
2. In phrases formed with the verb BE, the adverb follows BE.
|Tom and Sue||are||always||late.|
The adjective every is frequently joined with a temporal noun (minute, day, week, year…) to form phrases with the simple present.
Note that every + the temporal noun can be placed either at the end of the sentence or at the beginning of the sentence followed by a comma.
Warning! The simple present is not used to describe an action that is occurring at the moment of speaking. In these situations English requires the present progressive.
|Be quiet. The baby is sleeping.||
|Tom isn’t here. He is working.||
Tom isn’t here.
|I am talking. Don’t interrupt.||