How to use the Present Simple

Use of the Present Simple

The name “Present Simple” can be confusing because:

          it refers to the general “present” time but doesn’t really refer to “now” “this moment”

          it is “simple” in its structure and form but not necessarily in its use

The Simple Present tense has two common uses:

To talk about permanent situations that are accepted as facts or truths

          Water boils at 100º Celsius

 To talk about things that are habits or that happen regularly, repeatedly or all the time

          I play tennis every Wednesday

          Julia lives in Boston


Talking about facts or truths

Use of the present simple tense shows that an action or situation is generally believed to be true or is a generally accepted fact.


  • Norway is in Scandinavia in Europe.
  • Italian and Portuguese are Romance languages.
  • American presidents live in the White House.
  • Some birds build nests in trees.
  • The bodies of insects have three parts.
  • Air contains oxygen.

Talking about habits

Use of the simple present tense can also show that an action or situation is a habit – it happens regularly, repeatedly or all the time. It is  typical, usual, and predictable.


  • Julia is a vegetarian.
  • Michael Stokes books are interesting to read.
  • She cycles to work.
  • They eat in the company cafeteria.
  •  I play tennis every Thursday
  •  Gemma lives  in New York


——   ———  ——

Adverbs of frequency such as usually, often, sometimes, never, always, generally etc are very common in sentences with the “habit” use of simple present tense:

  • Marco is never late to class.
  • Brenda’s parents are generally at work
    by 7:30 AM.
  • Mr. Smith is in school from 9:00 AM
    until 5:00 PM five days a week.
  • Albert seldom goes to bed before 1:00 AM.
  • Max frequently visits his grandparents in their country house.
  • They have a coffee break every three hours.


Notice that one-word frequency adverbs (always, often, rarely, never,sometimes,etc.) come after BE but before other verbs.


  • John is always on time to work
  • John always starts work early
  • I am rarely angry
  • I rarely get angry
  • They are often at the pool in the summer.
  • They often go to the pool in the summer.

Look at Present Simple form

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