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Structure: ‘Conjugating the present simple’

How to conjugate the present simple

There is a way to conjugate all of our normal verbs and a different way for the verb ‘be’, which is irregular.

Conjugating normal verbs

Normal verbs have two forms in the present simple.

  • I / you / we / they fly
  • he / she / it flies

Tip: The ‘he / she / it’ form in the present simple positive is always different and usually has an ‘s’ at the end.

  • I / you / we / they work
  • he / she / it works

Conjugating normal verbs in negatives

To conjugate normal verb in the present simple negative we need to use the auxiliary verb ‘do’. Think of an auxiliary verb as an extra verb we use for certain things. In this situation we use ‘do’ to indicate a negative and a question.

  • I / you / we / they don’t work…
  • he / she / it doesn’t work…
    • (we use ‘do’ in the correct form and ‘work’ as an infinitive without ‘to’.

Conjugating normal verbs as questions

Again we need to use the auxiliary verb ‘do’. Because this isn’t a negative we don’t use a negative form. Also be careful with the position of the verb do. We use it before the subject (I / you / we / they / he / she / it)

  • Do I / you / we / they work…?
  • Does he / she / it work…?

Conjugating the verb ‘be’

The verb ‘be’ is very common but it is different than our normal verbs when we conjugate it.

  • I am
  • You are
  • He / she / it is
  • We / you / they are

Conjugating the verb ‘be’ in negatives

  • I’m not
  • You aren’t
  • He / she / it isn’t
  • We / you / they aren’t

Conjugating the verb ‘be’ as questions

To conjugate the verb ‘be’ as a question we change the order of a positive statement.

  • Am I…?
  • Are you…?
  • Is he / she / it…?
  • Are we / you / they…?

Look at our diagram below for a summary and then practice some more sentences yourself.

Diagram showing how to conjugating the present simple.
Conjugating the present simple.

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Structure: ‘Use of the present simple’

Using the present simple

The present simple is one of the most commons verb tenses that we use but it’s sometimes confused with other tenses that are also related to the present.

Basic use: To talk about states, repeated actions

eg I have 5,000 flight hours of experience. (state – not an action)

eg I usually go to the airport every week. (repeated actions)

Advanced use: To talk about a future event which is scheduled to start at a specific time.

eg I have a flight at 3:15pm tomorrow. (it’s scheduled by the airline)

eg The train leaves at 9:45pm. (it’s scheduled by the train company)

Tip: Be sure you know how to conjugate the present simple correctly in the positive, negative and question forms.

Look at the diagram below of when we use the present simple, and also have a look at the advanced use of the present simple. Did you know it’s possible to use it to talk about the future?

Diagram of the use of the present simple
Use of the ‘present simple’

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