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Grammar:  4.4. The Simple Present

 

Table of contents

1. The subject

2. The auxiliary verbs

3. The positive sentence

4. The 3rd person singular -s (he, she, it)

5. The negative sentence

6. The closed-ended question (YES/NO question)

7. The open-ended question (for more information)

8. Wh-question words

9. Key words (time markers)

10. The use of the simple present

11. Non-action verbs (state verbs)

12. Glossary

In general, it takes 21 days

 to create a positive habit!

-Fact

Unit:  1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9

 

1. The subject

  • The subject of a sentence is a person or thing that performs the action of the verb. Most English sentences must have a subject.
  • The subject can be either a noun or pronoun. Subject pronouns are used to replace the noun of a person or thing.

 

Examples

I go shopping every week.

You hardly ever eat fruit.

He runs very fast.

She loves going out.

It tastes delicious.

We play football once a week.

You sing my favorite song.

They always win the game.

 

2. Auxiliary verbs

An auxiliary verb helps the main (full) verb and is also called a "helping verb." With auxiliary verbs, you can form a question, a negative sentence, a compound tense or the passive in different tenses, or voices. They are to be, to do and to have. The position of modal verbs in questions and negative sentences are the same as auxiliary verbs, therefore, modal verbs are similar to auxiliary verbs.

 

be

do

have

Modal Verbs

am

is

are

was

were

do

does

did

have

has

had

can

will

shall

may

must

could

would

should

might

--

 

Examples

The verb to do can be used as a main verb or as an auxiliary verb.

 

  • He is swimming every day.
  • She often eats fruit.

3. The positive sentence

Positive simple present and simple past tenses have no auxiliary verbs in positive sentences.

 

Word order:

Examples:

I have dinner at 8 o’clock every day.

You always have fun.

He plays the guitar.

She sometimes gets home late.

It hardly ever rains in Palma de Mallorca,

We never go out together.

You go on vacation twice a year.

They sometimes work overtime

 

4. The 3rd person singular -s (he, she, it)

1. In positive (affirmative) sentences put the -s at the end of the main verb.

2. Use does not (doesn’t) for he, she, it in negative sentences (there’s no -s on the main verb).

3. Use Does …? for he, she, it in questions (there’s no -s on the main verb).

 

Examples:

He smokes every day..

She doesn´t  smoke every day.

Does it smoke every day?

 

Spelling rules for the 3rd person singular –s

 

Infinitive

3rd P/S

Spelling

work

works

add -s

study

studies

consonant + y changes to -ies

kiss

wish

match

fix

kisses

wishes

matches

fixes

Verbs that end in  s, ss, sh, ch, x add -es

do

go

does

goes

Verbs that end in a vowel like “o” add -es

have

has

change to -s

 

5. The negative sentence

When we want to say that something is not true or is not the case, we can use negative words, phrases or clauses. Negation can happen in a number of ways, most commonly, when we use a negative word such as no, not, never, none, nobody, etc.

  • We form negative statements with not or n’t after the auxiliary verb do / does in present simple.
  • n’t is the contracted form of not.

 

Word order

Examples:

Long Form (formal)

Short Form (informal)

Anne does not speak French,

You do not eat properly.

I do not have any money.

Tim does not go out every day.

They do not move to Arizona.

Anne doesn’t speak French,

You don’t eat properly.

I don`t have any money.

Tim doesn’t go out every day.

They don’t move to Arizona.

 

6. Closed-ended question (YES/NO question)

Sometimes the only answer that we need is YES or NO. The verb to do will function as an auxiliary verb to ask questions in the present simple tense for most verbs. (Does, however, is substituted for third-person (he, she, it), singular subjects in the present tense.

 

Word order

Examples:

Closed-ended question

Pos. short answer

Neg. short answer

Does Anne speak French?

Do you come to my party?

Do they speak English?

Does he eat enough fruit?

Do we have some sugar?

Yes, she does.

Yes, I do.

 

 

Yes, we do.

 

 

No, they don’t

No, he doesn’t

 

 

7. Open-ended question (for more information)

Sometimes we want more than YES or NO for an answer. When asking for more information, we usually place a question-word at the beginning of the sentence. The question-word indicates the information that we want, for example: where (place), when (time), why (reason), who (person).

 

Word order:

Examples:

Open-ended question

Answer

Where does Anne live?

When do you have breakfast?

Who are these people?

Who is the best football player?

Why do you study English?

She lives in Palma de Mallorca.

I have breakfast at 8 o’clock.

I don’t know.

In my opinion, it’s Lionel Messi.

I study English because I need it for work.

 

8. Wh-question words

Question words are also called Wh-questions because they include the letter “W” and “h”. They are:

 

Question word

Translation

Meaning

Translation

Who

Where

Why

When

Which

Whose

Whom

What

How

Quién

Dónde

Por qué

Cuándo

Cuál/Qué

De quién

A quién

Qué

Cómo

People

Place

Reason

Time

Choice

Possession

Object of verb

Action, object, idea

Manner

Gente

Lugar

Razón

Tiempo

Elección

Posesión

C. del verbo

Acción, objeto, idea

Manera

What kind (of)

What time

How long

How much

How many

How often

How far

How old

How come (US)

Qué tipo (de)

Tiempo

Cuánto tiempo

Cuánto cuesta

Cuántos

Cuántas veces

Hasta dónde

Cuántos años

Por qué

Description

Time

Duration

Price, amount (UCN)

Quantity (CN)

Frequency

Distance

Age

Reason

Descripción

Tiempo

Duración

Precio, Cantidad (NC)

Cantidad (C)

Frecuencia

Distancia

Edad

Razón

 

9. Key words (time marker)

Key words help us to understand when things happen. We often use adverbs and phrases of frequency with the simple present tense to state how often somebody does something. They are as followed:

 

Adverbs of frequency

 

Phrases of frequency

once a day/week…

twice a day/week…

three times a month/year…

every day/month/…

weekly,…

monthly, …

They go usually at the end of a sentence.

always

often

usually

sometimes

hardly ever

never

They go before the main verb and after the verb to be. In negative sentences the adverb of frequency goes between don’t/doesn’t and the main verb.

 

 

10. The use of the simple present

 

1.

We use the present simple for things we frequently do like habits, customs, routines, work, etc.

2.

We use the present simple for things that are generally true.

3.

We use the present simple with verbs that describe states or feelings (non-actions verbs).

4.

We sometimes use the present simple to speak about the future like timetables (schedules).

 

11. Non-action verbs (state verbs)

Here are some important state verbs.

 

State verbs

Translation

agree

be

believe

belong

depend

forget

hate

hear

know

like

love

matter

mean

need

prefer

realize

seem

suppose

acordar

ser/estar

creer

pertenecer

depender

olvidar

odiar

escuchar

saber, conocer

gustar

amar, encantar

importar

significar

necesitar

preferir

realizar

parecer

suponer

 

12. Glossary

S: = Subject

N: = Noun

PN: = Pronoun

Vx: = Auxiliary verb

Vm: = Main verb

O: = Object

Tm: = Time marker

adj: = Adjective

adv: = Adverb

 

to think = pensar

you’re right = tiene razón

thing = cosa

sentence = oración, frase

either = o

either…o = o…o, uno u otro, cualquiera de los dos

to use = usar

to replace = reemplazar, sustituir

 

Unit:  1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9    Return to top

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