Have a look at this example situation:
Alex is a bus driver, but now he is in bed asleep. He is not driving a bus. (He is asleep)
but He drives a bus. (He is a bus driver.)
Drive(s)/work(s)/do(es) etc. is the present simple.
We use the present simple to talk about things in general. We use it to say that something happens all the time or repeatedly, or that something is true in general:
- Nurses look after patients in hospitals.
- I usually go away at weekends.
- The earth goes around the sun.
- The cafe opens at 7:30 in the morning.
I work … but He works …
They teach … but My sister teaches …
When to add -es
If a word ends in ‑s, –ss, ‑sh, ‑ch, ‑x, or ‑z, you add ‑es.
This rule applies to plural nouns and verbs after he/she/it.
Note also: potato/potatoes, tomato/tomatoes, do/does, go/goes
Words ending in -y
y changes to ie before the ending –s
study/studies, apply/applies, try/tries
We use do/does to make questions and negative sentences:
- I come from Canada. Where do you come from?
- I don’t go away very often.
- What does this word mean? (not What means this word?)
- Rice doesn’t grow in cold climates.
In the following examples, do is also the main verb (do you do / doesn’t do etc.)
- ‘What do you do?’ ‘I work in a shop.’
- He’s always so lazy. He doesn’t do anything to help.
We use the present simple to say how often we do things:
- I get up at 7 o’clock every morning.
- How often do you go to the dentist?
- Julie doesn’t drink tea very often.
- Robert usually goes away two or three times a year.
I promise / I apologise etc.
Sometimes we do things by saying something. For example, when you promise to do something you can say “I promise …”; when you suggest something, you can say “I suggest…”:
I promise I won’t be late. (not I’m promising)
“What do you suggest I do?” “I suggest that you …”
In the same way we say: I apologise… / I advise… / I insist… / I agree … / I refuse … / etc.
Practise the present simple
Complete the sentences using the following verbs:
cause(s) connect(s) drink(s) live(s) open(s) speak(s) take(s)
- Sarah _________ German very well.
- I don’t often _________ coffee.
- The gym _________ at 7:30 every morning.
- Bad driving _________ many accidents.
- My parents _________ in a very small apartment.
- The Olympic Games _________ place every four years.
- The Panama Canal _________ the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
- Sarah speaks German very well.
- I don’t often drink coffee.
- The gym opens at 7:30 every morning.
- Bad driving causes many accidents.
- My parents live in a very small apartment.
- The Olympic Games take place every four years.
- The Panama Canal connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
Use the following verbs to complete the sentences. Sometimes you need the negative.
believe eat flow go
grow make rise tell translate
- Rice doesn’t grow in Canada.
- The earth __________ round the sun.
- The sun __________ in the east.
- Bees __________ honey.
- Vegetarians __________ meat.
- An atheist __________ in God.
- An interpreter __________ from one language into another.
- Liars are people who __________ the truth.
- The River Amazon __________ into the Atlantic Ocean.
- Rice doesn’t grow in Canada.
- The earth goes round the sun.
- The sun rises in the east.
- Bees make honey.
- Vegetarians don’t eat meat.
- An atheist doesn’t believe in God.
- An interpreter translates from one language into another.
- Liars are people who don’t tell the truth.
- The River Amazon flows into the Atlantic Ocean.
You ask Dara questions about herself and her family. Write the questions.
- You know that Dara plays tennis. You want to know how often. Ask her.
How often do you play tennis?
- Perhaps Dara’s sister plays tennis too. You want to know. Ask Dara.
__________ your sister __________________________?
- You know that Dara reads a newspaper every day. You want to know which one. Ask her.
- You know that Dara’s brother works. You want to know what he does. Ask Dara.
- You know that Dara goes to the cinema a lot. You want to know how often. Ask her.
- You don’t know where Dara’s grandparents live. You want to know. Ask Dara.
- How often do you play tennis?
- Does your sister play tennis (too)?
- Which newspaper do you read?
- What does your brother do?
- How often do you go to the cinema?
- Where do your grandparents live?
Source: Murphy, R. English Grammar in Use. 4th Ed.
Image credit (main image): Stephane Milot