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Present Simple Tense or Present Indefinite Tense
The Present Simple Tense is the first and basic tense in English. It is a kind of tense, which is used to indicate a habitual action, routine work or an action, which is done on a regular basis. There is no indication of completion of an action in the Present Simple Tense. It is an incredible tense, because it can also be used for future. Now, let’s discuss how the Present Simple Tense is used in various situations:
To Express Habitual Activity
The Present Simple Tense is used to express a habitual action or a routine work. Look at the following sentences, which show a habitual action. Every sentence of them indicates an activity, which is performed on a regular basis. For example, the sentence, “He gets up early in the morning.” shows us that it is his habit that he gets up early in the morning. Similarly, “She goes for a walk every day in the morning.” indicates that it is her routine to have a walk in the morning on a daily basis. Look at the following sentences:
- He gets up early in the morning.
- She takes exercise every day in the morning.
- He takes a cup of tea after dinner.
- I go for a walk every day in the morning.
Detailed Lecture on Present Simple Tense
To Express Universal Truth or Fact
It is also used to express a universal truth, fact and generalization. For example, “The Sun revolves around the earth.” This sentence shows us a universal truth, because we know that the sun revolves around the earth. It is a universally accepted truth. Similarly, “Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius.” is a fact. It has been scientifically proved that that boiling point of water is 100 degrees Celsius. That is why; it is a fact. Thus, we have come to know that the Present Simple Tense is used to express a universal truth, fact and generalization. Look at the following sentences:
- The Sun revolves around the earth.
- Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius.
- Mount Everest is the tallest mountain.
- Islamabad is the capital of Pakistan.
- Fish cannot live on earth.
- Mammals give birth to young ones and nurse them on milk.
A Substitute for Future
It is used as a substitute for future for describing events or an activity, which is a part of a fixed schedule. For example, “The PK707 arrives tomorrow at 11 AM.” is a substitute for the sentence; “The PK707 will arrive tomorrow at 11 AM.” Moreover, it is also a scheduled flight i.e., it is a part of the schedule. Similarly, “The match starts at 10 o’clock.” is also a substitute for future as we can also express the same idea in future tense like, “The match will start at 10 o’clock.” Look at the following sentences:
- The PK-707 arrives tomorrow at 11 AM.
- The match starts at 10 PM.
- The meeting starts at 6 PM.
- The bell rings at 12 PM.
Used in Commentaries & Story Telling
The Present Simple Tense is used in live commentaries and the narration of a story. You might have listened to stories on Radio, wherein the narrator tells the story in the Simple Present Tense. It is the best way to narrate a story in the Simple Present Story as it creates suspense and interest in the audience. That’s why; the story tellers use Present Simple Tense in telling the story. Similarly, it is also used in live commentaries to update you about the real-time developments in a match. You might have listened to the commentaries of various commentators, giving commentaries on live games i.e., Football and cricket. Thus, the sentences given below are the best examples of the Present Simple Tense, expressing this type of situation.
- Caesar comes out of the senate and leaves for home.
- Ahmad passes the ball to Rehan.
- Rehan comes forward and hits the ball out of the stadium.
- Hamlet suspends his intention of killing Claudius.
- Hamlet takes out his sword and stabs Laertes.
Which sentence is correct?
Rules & Structure
Now, let’s discuss the rules and structure of the Simple Present Tense. The most important thing that is required to be remembered, is that First form of verb, i.e., base form of the verb is used in Present Simple Tense. In affirmative sentences, subject, verb and object are used. The subject is placed at the very beginning of the sentence, then verb and then object or the rest of the sentence. It is shown in the following figure:
Thus, subject, verb and object make the affirmative sentence in a Present Simple Tense. Look at the following sentences:
- He sings a song.
- She sings a song.
- It seems to be something else.
- Ahmad likes to read books.
- They play cricket.
- We sing a song.
- You write him a letter.
- Aslam and Navid play football.
You can see that there is an additional s or es with some verbs. Don’t worry; I’m going to explain it. The answer to your question is, that s or es is added to the verbs, which precede he, she, it, and singular noun. S is added to regular verbs like adds, breaks, plucks, while es is added to only those verbs, which end on o, sh, ch, ss, s, and x. Those verbs, which end on y and having a consonant after itself, change the y to i and add es. For example, study changes into studies, fly changes into flies. No additional letters are added to the rest of the main verbs.
In Negative sentences, does not or do not are added after the subject. Does not is added after he, she, it and a singular noun, while do not be added after I, we, You, They, and Plural Nouns. Look at the following sentences. You can also understand the structure of the Negative Sentences through the key as given below:
- He does not sing a song.
- She does not sing a song.
- It does not seem to be something else.
- Ahmad does not like to read books.
- They do not play cricket.
- We do not sing a song.
- You do not write him a letter.
- Aslam and Navid do not play football.
In interrogative sentences, does or do are added before the subject, and interrogative mark is added at the end of the sentence. As earlier said, like Negative Sentences, does is used with he, she, it and Singular Noun, while do is used with I, we, you, they and plural nouns. Look at the following sentences:
- Does he sings a song?
- Does she sing a song?
- Does it seem to be something else?
- Does Ahmad like to read books?
- Do they play cricket?
- Do we sing a song?
- Do you write him a letter?
- Do Aslam and Navid play football?
Interrogative Negative Sentences
Interrogative Negative Sentences are just like negative sentences with a little bet variation in structure. In Interrogative Negative Sentences, does or do are added before the subjects. Look at the sentences. You will come to know how to form these sentences. You can also express these sentences as Doesn’t he go to school? Doesn’t he sing a song? Don’t they play cricket? Don’t we sing a song? Don’t you write him a letter? Don’t Aslam and Navid play football? This is the most informal way of expressing these ideas. Look at the following sentences:
- Does he not sing a song?
- Does he not sing a song?
- Does Ahmad not like to read books?
- Do they not play cricket?
- Do we not sing a song?
- Do you not write him a letter?
- Do Aslam and Navid not play football?
WH Sentences are frequently used in informal and formal language. To form these sentences, wh words i.e., what, who, how, whom, which and what are used before a normal interrogative sentence. For example, Does he sing a song? is a normal interrogative sentence. To convert it into a wh sentence, we just need to place an appropriate wh word before it. Thus, the sentence will be like, Where does he sing a song? Look at the sentences and try yourself to make more sentences like the ones I’ve given here. For better understanding the structure of these sentences, please have a look at the key, wherein it has been shown clearly, which part of the sentence should come first and second. For example:
- Why does he sing a song?
- When does she sing a song?
- Where does Ahmad like to read books?
- Who do you want to invite?
- Who does want to invite you?
- Which book do you want to read?
- Whose book do you want to read?
© 2014 Muhammad Rafiq