Present simple – more uses

Present Simple – other uses

1. Informal reporting of what people say.

2. Stories, and talking about stories in informal narrative.

3. Formal correspondence.

4. Here comes ….. etc

1.Informal reporting of what people say. (colloquial English and sometimes it is Slang)

This is used a lot by young people when they are in casual situations with their friends.

  • Micky:         Hey Spence, what’s up?
  • Spence:         Not bad, yourself?
  • Micky:         Cool! Hey man tell us about what went down with Crissie yesterday.
  • Spence:         I’m like walking into Dempster’s and I see Crissie. So I go “Hey, Crissie .. looking good” and she goes “That’s what you says” with a real evil look on her. She goes “I ain’t talking to you so you can go shooting your big mouth off again.”
  • Micky:         Hey what’s she on? You don’t bad mouth her
  • Spence:         Yeh ….. so I’m like thinking …. What I’ve done? Anyways I go “ Crissie, I don’t bad mouth you. What you got on me?” and she goes “you know what you said about me to BJ and I don’t like it”
  • Micky:         BJ, who wants a brother like that?
  • Spence:         I ain’t seen BJ since he got back.
  • Micky:         So what you tell her?
  • Spence:         I’m like there with a  dumb face … I goes “I ain’t seen your brother in months. I don’t want no probs with him. You know he don’t like me” So I says “phone him now, you’ll see”
  • Spence:         Did she?
  • Mickey:         Yeh. He repeated everything …. but his story don’t make out. She knows I couldn’t have seen him when he said, cos I was with her. She goes to him “ If you wanna be my brother ……” She gave him an earful that he’ll never forget.

This style of language can be colloquial, very informal or even slang. You may hear it in some films but I recommend that you don’t try and use it in a conversation and certainly not in writing

2. Stories and talking about stories, films etc

When we talk about stories, films etc that are set in the past we often use the present tense to explain the storyline, especially in an informal style.

There’s an English man, OK? He’s  driving through the streets of Paris, and he sees a giant crocodile crossing the road. The man stops his car and goes up to the crocodile and says “ Don’t you know you are supposed to cross at the zebra crossing?” And the crocodile replies …

The simple present is quite common for making summaries of films, plays, books etc

  • In the opening scenes Indiana Jones travels to an archaeological conference in South America
  • The film finishes when Snow White tries on the glass slipper

3. Formal Correspondence

When writing formal letters instead of using the Present Continuous

  • I write to advise you …. ( less formal: I am writing to inform you)
  • I enclose a stamped copy of the contract …. (less formal: I am enclosing..)

5. here comes ….

The structures here comes and there goes are used in situations where we would normally use a Present Continuous*.

  • There goes your train. What time is the next one?
  • Here comes Mr. and Mrs. Smith, please try and be civil to them. (not: Mr. and Mrs. Smith are coming now)

* see Grammar notes for non continuous verbs

See notes for Present Simple for the future and if you want to check how to use the Present Simple or to find out how to form the Present Simple

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