A Present Simple guide for English learners
Just like with many other things in the English language, Present Simple can be used to express a variety of ideas. Today, we are going to look at different ways we use the Present Simple tense.
Before you read on, try to answer the question: what uses of Present Simple do you know already?
Once you have a think, read on to compare.
Here are three basic uses of this tense that most students know:
- I get up before 7 every morning.
- I work from Monday to Friday.
- I am always off at the weekends.
2. States that describe your feelings and opinions:
- I enjoy walks on the beach.
- I love rock music.
- I believe the government should do more.
3. Facts that are always true:
- Earth goes around the Sun.
- Water freezes at 0 degrees Celsius.
- Spring comes after summer.
There are other important ways in which Present Simple can be used.
Before you read on, can you think for a moment what these may be? By trying to think about it yourself first, you are engaging your mind in processing your existing knowledge. This will help you to integrate it with the new knowledge.
Here are other uses of Present Simple that are very common:
4. Film and story plots:
- The two main characters meet on a night out.
- The protagonist doesn’t realise that she lost her way.
- At the beginning of the story, the main character is very happy.
5. Itineraries such as travel arrangements:
- On day one we fly to Los Angeles.
- The bus leaves tomorrow at eight.
- The plane lands at 9 p.m.
6. News headlines:
- Five people in hospital after bus crashes into a tree.
- World leaders meet at a historic event.
- Prime Minister wins in a landslide victory.
7. Summaries of historical events:
- The Second World War begins in 1939. It comes as a shock to the local populations.
8. Funny stories and jokes:
- A dog walks into a bar with a frog on its head…
- I walk over to this guy thinking he’s my husband and give him a big hug, but when he turns around, it turns out he’s a stranger!
9. Recipes instead of imperative to make them more personal:
- You take two cups of flour, one egg, some water, and you knead the dough until the ingredients are well combined.
- First, you gently mix the ingredients with a spatula.
Here’s a summary of the uses:
The above list can be very useful to you as all of these various uses of Present Simple are common. Why not create a challenge for yourself to use one different function of Present Simple per day.
Even if you cannot speak to anyone, you can take a diary or a piece of paper, make up a different sentence once a day and write it down.
If you win the whole challenge, treat yourself to something you like as a reward. This should motivate you to take up more such challenges in the future and help you on your learning journey.
Written by Joanna Bartosz-Donohoe, founder of Anglica Language School