Usos y reglas del Present Simple tense – Tiempo gramatical

February 15, 2010Curso Pre-Intermediate, Grammar

Clase en linea con audio – Nivel PRE-INTERMEDIO lección 27 Grammar


Present simple – USES and Structure

Today we are going to focus on the present simple tense. Please, if this is your first time learning the present simple tense please go to the Basic Level Lesson (Lesson 10a / Lesson 10b). We are going to focus on the USES of the present simple tense and check on the common errors.

Present Simple USES – (¿Cuándo utilizamos el “present simple”?)

Do you know when to use the present simple tense? If you answer this question clearly then you are relating it to a context or situation. This means that you can USE the tense more naturally and this will help your fluency. If you have problems then it is important to discuss the uses of the present simple tense in detail.

***Para aprender inglés ustedes tienen que dejar de ver la gramática como una formula o estructura. Necesitan saber en que situaciones usarla ya que esto es el objetivo final. De nada sirve saber las reglas gramaticales sin saber cuáles son sus usos comunicativos. Veamos entonces en que contextos usamos el “present simple”.

We use the present simple in the following situations:

1) General truths and current information. (Hechos e Información actual)

  • When we want to talk about something that is always true then we can use the present simple. Let’s look at these examples:

–          Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius.
–          Peru is in South America.
–          Two plus two equals four.

  • These actions are always true. The information does not vary. We can also use the present simple for current information. The verb to be is very useful to express these situations.

–          I am thirty one years old.
–          My brother is a Dentist
–          Sheila has three children.

2) Routines and habits

Whenever you want to express something that you usually do please remember to use the present simple. We use this tense to express actions that form part of a routine.

–          Miguel gets up at about 6:00am. (This happens constantly)
–          Pedro doesn’t have breakfast. (It is not part of his routine)
–          I smoke about ten cigarrttes a day. (It is a habit)

We can use the Adverbs of Frequency to help up emphasis a routine. (IR A LECCION 13 BASICO)

–          How often do you go dancing? – I sometimes go dancing.



Look at the following table: TABLE #1:

Verb to be Other verbs
She is my friend She works for IBM
They are married They  live in Miami
I’m a teacher I play tennis
Pedro isn’t sad Pedro doesn’t like playing tennis.
They aren’t brothers They don’t live together
Are they single? Do they play guitar?
Is he your friend? Does he study English?

Can you find the differences between the first and second column? Why do we use the auxiliaries do, does, don’t and doesn’t in the second column? When do we use them?

We use the auxiliaries with the verbs that are NOT to be in the present simples in NEGATIVE and QUESTIONS forms

  • The verb TO BE

The verb to be denotes a state or a condition and it does not denote an action.
The verb to be DOES NOT use auxiliaries. Look at the examples:

(+) I am always happy – He/she/it  is at the bank – We/you/they are married
(-) I am not French – He/she/it is not sad – We/you/they are not single.
(?) Am I sick doctor? – Is he/she/it in the kitchen? – Are we/you/they Brazilian?

  • Other verbs

These include ALL the verbs that are NOT the verb to be

(+) I /we/you/they play tennis – He/she/it plays tennis
(-)I /we/you/they don’t play tennis – He/she/it doesn’t play tennis
(?) Do I /we/you/they play tennis – Does he/she/it play tennis

Common mistakes:

–          I am play tennis (incorrect) ————- I play tennis (correct)
DO NOT use the verb to be with other verbs together.

–          Pablo isn’t study English(incorrect) ————- Pablo doesn’t study English (correct)
When we use other verbs (study), to form the negative, we have to use the auxiliary “doesn’t”

–          You live in Bogota? (incorrect) ————-Do you live in Bogota?(correct)
Use the auxiliaries in questions with other verbs.

–          She doesn’t plays (incorrect) ————- She doesn’t play (correct)
When we use the auxiliaries, the verb NEVER goes in the “s” form. It always uses the simple form.