Present Simple Verb Tenses

Present simple verb tenses show actions that happen regularly or that are permanently happening.
The children play by the fire.

The pretty horse gallops across the field.

Principal Parts of Verbs

You might be wondering what I'm talking about with this whole principal parts of a verb business.

I bring this up because it is very important, and it will help you to form the present simple verb tense.

All verbs can be broken down into four parts called the principal parts of a verb.
Those four principal parts are:

1. Present

2. Present Participle

3. Past

4. Past Participle
You form the present simple tense by using one of those principal parts - the present part.

Let's look at a chart of the principal parts of a verb so that you know what I mean.

Present Present Participle Past Past Participle
come (is) coming came (have) come
fall (is) falling fell (have) fallen
go (is) going went (have) gone
graduate (is) graduating graduated (have) graduated
know (is) knowing knew (have) known
walk (is) walking walk (have) walked
write (is) writing wrote (have) written

Forming the Present Simple Tense

There are three ways to make a verb into the simple present tense:

You use the verb's present form, you add an s to the present form, or you add an es to the present form.

The verb itself and the number of the subject will determine which of the three ways you need to use. (It varies for each verb and subject.)

1. Use the present form of the verb.

You use this for plural subjects (that means more than one), and for those crazy singular pronouns I and you.
The children play by the fire.

I know how to make a sandwich.

2. Add s to present form of the verb.

You'll only do this when your subject is singular. (That means one.)
Mark plays by the fire.

The pretty horse gallops across the field.

3. Add es to the present form of the verb.

You'll only do this when your subject is singular and the verb ends in s, z, x, sh, or ch.
Mr. Hanny teaches first grade.

The little girl misses her mom.
Notice that all of the verbs in those sentences are showing actions that are happening right now. That makes them present tense verbs.

What Are the Other Verb Tenses?

English verbs have six different tenses, and they are broken up into two different groups.

There are three simple tenses. These are your basic, run-of-the-mill tenses.

1. Present Simple

My brother knows the answer.

2. Past Simple

My brother knew the answer.

3. Future Simple

My brother will know the answer.

There are three perfect tenses. These three tenses are all formed using the helping verbs have, has, had, will, and shall along with the past participle of the verb.

1. Present Perfect

My brother has known the answer.

2. Past Perfect

My brother had known the answer.

3. Future Perfect

My brother will have known the answer.

You can learn more about verb tenses here or you can use these stories and exercises to learn more about verb tenses.

The Beginner's Guide to Grammar gives you a fun and visual way to get started with grammar and sentence diagramming. Yay!

Go Back to the Verb Tenses Page

Go from Present Simple Tense Verbs Back to English Grammar Home Page