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The trouble with using the Present Simple

The present simple. It's SIMPLE, right? Easy. The easiest tense in English, that's why it's called the present SIMPLE, no?!?!


WRONG.


The present simple is a sneaky tense, full of tricks and exceptions, ready to confuse even the most diligent student. Honestly, in my humble teacher's opinion, the present simple is one of the trickier tenses in English. This post is meant to help you out a bit and show you where most people make mistakes, so that in your next meeting or conversation, you sound like a pro!

 

The Present "Simple"

Here is a list of the most common mistakes that people make in the present simple and how to avoid them!

Forgetting the final -s when speaking about he, she, or it.

He, she it:

speaks, watches, finishes, goes, does, misses, fixes, study --> studies, cry --> cries

​Using not instead of don't or doesn't

I not like pineapple.

I don't like pineapple.

He not like running.

He doesn't like running.

Forgetting to add do or does to a question.

​You live in Italy?

Do you live in Italy?

She work in a school?

Does she work in a school?

​Forgetting to switch the verb "to be" and the subject in a question.

​You are hungry?

Are you hungry?

It is your dog?

Is it your dog?

Using adverbs of frequency out of order.





*Exception - sometimes can also go at the beginning or the end of a sentence.

​Always she does yoga after work.

She always does yoga after work.

I eat McDonalds never.

I never eat McDonalds.


*Sometimes I go to the cinema.

*I sometimes go to the cinema.

*I go the cinema sometimes.


 

The present simple is probably the most used tense in English, remember, it's not only used to talk about your habits and routines, but it's also used for:

  • facts - The Earth is round.

  • permanent or stable situations - She lives in Spain. She's a teacher.

  • future timetables - The train leaves tomorrow at 8am.

I hope this clears up any doubts you may have had, but if it didn't, go ahead a leave a comment with your question!

 

Glossary

  • sneaky: furtive, sly, clever

  • humble: to be modest

  • trickier: comparative for tricky - difficult, more difficult

  • to clear up: phrasal verb - to clarify


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