Simple present

This lesson is in two parts. Part 1 explains how to form the simple present. Page 2 explains how the simple present functions in English. Before continuing, review this lesson: Introduction to verbs.

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In English, there are only two simple present conjugations for all verbs except the verb BE, which has three conjugations, and modal verbs, which have none.

Here is an example with the verb EAT.

  singular   plural
first person I eat we eat
second person you eat you eat
third person he, she, it eats they eat

Note that the third person singular form has the morpheme -s added to the base form of the verb. All the other persons are the same. There are a few irregularities regarding the third person singular but they are very simple to understand and the same rules that apply to making singular nouns plural. Here are the rules:

For verbs that end in -ch, -o, -s, -sh, and -x, add -es to create the third person singular.

  singular   plural
  TEACH
1st per I teach   we teach
2nd per you teach you teach
3rd per he, she, it teaches they teach
 
  GO
1st per I go   we go
2nd per you go you go
3rd per he, she, it goes they go
 
  FOCUS
1st per I focus   we focus
2nd per you focus you focus
3rd per he, she, it focuses they focus
 
  WASH
1st per I wash   we wash
2nd per you wash you wash
3rd per he, she, it washes they wash
 
  MIX
1st per I mix   we mix
2nd per you mix you mix
3rd per he, she, it mixes they mix

For verbs that end in a vowel + y, add -s.

  singular   plural
1st per I say we say
2nd per you say you say
3rd per he, she, it says they say

If the verb ends in a consonant + y, change y to i and add es.

  singular   plural
1st per I study we study
2nd per you study you study
3rd per he, she, it studies they study

Note that a change only occurs with the third person singular. All other persons have the same conjugation.

The verb HAVE is irregular. Note that -ve is replaced with -s for the third person singular.

  singular   plural
1st per I have we have
2nd per you have you have
3rd per he, she, it has they have

The simple present in English may be used diffently than the simple present in your mother tongue. Learn how to use the simple present by going on to page 2 of this lesson.

Warning: there are two ways to pronounce the morpheme –es, and one of them adds another syllable to the verb. Learn about these two pronunciations by visiting the page on nouns.

 
Related lessons:

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2 comments for “Simple present

  1. Jorge Leiva
    29 May 2014 at 21:28

    Just wanted to know what year you published this in order to quote you. Thanks

    • lkl
      30 May 2014 at 09:13

      Can I ask how much you plan to quote, and where?

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