Simple Present Tense Charts & Tables with Definitions, Rules, and Practical Examples

simple present tense chart

What is the Simple Present Tense?

Verb Tenses are one of the most essential tenets of English grammar. The most common type is the simple present tense, also known as present indefinite or present simple.

This is in part because the simple present tense is typically the first lesson in tenses that English language learners encounter. But more importantly, more than half of all English verbs are in this tense and are the base forms from which other conjugations are made.

By definition, the simple present tense is used to denote actions, conditions, and events that happen all the time or regularly. But if we dig a little deeper, the simple present tense has many other uses.

Before we go further, it’s important to note that we don’t use the simple present tense for activities that are happening at this moment. We use the present continuous tense for this situation. Furthermore, although we contractions in general conversations, we might spell some of them out in this article for purposes of clarity (i.e. does not instead of doesn’t).

The Importance of a Tense Chart in English Language Learning

A tense chart puts grammatical tense rules into a clear perspective. It’s a common tool amongst English language learners because it is effective, useful, and a valuable resource for learning English (or other languages for that matter). The English language has a total of 12 verbs, but only four of them (the three simple tenses and the present continuous tense) are frequently used in everyday conversation. Nevertheless, learning and using the remaining eight tenses can help you meet more complex language needs, especially in written work for academic and professional reasons.

Furthermore, because there are 12 tense forms that refer to 12 different emphatic time frames, the rules can often get confusing. For example, the phrase “They’re closing the museum at noon.” refers to an upcoming event, but is expressed in the present tense. The future tense “They will close the museum at noon.” has the same meaning. Either way, both statements are grammatically correct and are merely two ways of saying the same thing. Additionally, the sentence “They will have closed the museum by noon.” echoes a similar meaning, but it’s often not used in general communication.

Verb tense charts like the ones shown in this blog can be used as resources or tools for your English language study. They’re comprehensive, straightforward, and easy to understand, with various sentence examples, sentence structures, and different verb forms presented. It’s a signification learning method that can grant you a better grasp of tenses and their application in practical language use.

Simple Present Format or Structure

Simple Present Tense Structure Table

TenseRule and FormulaExample
Simple PresentSubject + Verb in the base form + -s/es (if singular) + the rest of the sentenceBobby makes coffee.

The Simple Present Tense in Sentences

  • Arundhati drinks.
  • Sai likes football.
  • Darcy sells magazines.
  • The sun rises in the east.
  • I love eating Korean food.
  • Dinonsia cooks breakfast early.
  • The storm rages south of the capital.
  • She wants the car with a painted rear.
  • We plan to watch the movie after dinner.
  • The moon shines very brightly in the summer.
  • They produce medical equipment for the county.
  • Ahaan believes the teachers are in great need of a break.

Uses of Simple Present Chart with Examples

The simple present tense is helpful to express a variety of actions, situations, and conditions. Study the chart below:

Simple Present Tense Usage Chart

General truthsHigh tide comes at night.
HabitsShe works at the store every Saturday.
Fixed Future PlansOur flight leaves in an hour.
After “until”, “when”, “before”, etc.I will wait until the movie ends.
Permanent SituationsShe studies at Vison ELC.
Newspaper HeadlinesThe storm makes landfall.
With Stative VerbsIt sounds like he’s mad.
Telling StoriesAll of a sudden, the door opens!
Instructions and DirectionsMake a left on Windsor.

A Closer Look at 9 Uses of the Simple Present Tense

1. To state general truths.

  • Sahil hates dogs.
  • Rabbits eat carrots.
  • The sun rises in the east.
  • Trees lose leaves in winter.
  • Many people go home during the holidays.

2. To signify habits.

  • He smokes after eating.
  • I swim three times a week.
  • We perform there every year.
  • Myra paints on the weekends.
  • That huge squirrel visits us at night.

3. While mentioning a future event within a fixed schedule or timetable.

  • It starts at 10 o’clock.
  • Muggle Museum opens at 9.
  • The train leaves at 6:45 sharp.
  • Their parade starts in two hours.
  • Vivaan’s plane arrives in the afternoon.

4. In clauses of time and condition, usually after prepositions (e.g. until, when, before, etc.).

  • We will stay here if it rains.
  • I’ll call after the package arrives.
  • Shaun will go when the song ends.
  • Take it off the heat after it bubbles.
  • I won’t believe it until he tells me himself.

5. To reference permanent situations.

  • I live in Manhattan.
  • Lakshmi goes to work there.
  • He trains kids in martial arts.
  • Advik studies coding at Darsh College.
  • They work in the criminal department.
English Simple Present Tense

6. In newspaper headlines, broadcasts, and commentaries.

  • Bob earns a home run for the team.
  • Flash floods hit Mindoro on Tuesday.
  • Man loses hair after botched laser transplant.
  • Heavy rains pour over the city as the storm hits.
  • Police officers apprehend the gunman in an alley.

7. With stative verbs.

  • She appears to be in great distress.
  • They want the guests to feel at ease.
  • Meredith disagrees with their suggestion.
  • I suspect he wants to talk to me at the party.
  • Rohan feels responsible for the loss of the bike.

8. When telling stories for a more immersive effect.

  • They hurry to the hospital.
  • I immediately rush for the ball.
  • She grabs the doorknob but finds it locked.
  • They gobble the food before she can taste it.
  • Prisha bolts from her chair to turn the stove off.

9. When giving instructions and directions.

  • Turn right at Richmond.
  • Open the top drawer of the antique table.
  • Please buy a dozen eggs on your way home.
  • Do call me at this number if you want to confirm.
  • With your tongs, turn the cutlet as soon as it changes color.

Simple Present Tense Chart with Different Sentence Structures

Tenses can appear in three forms depending on the structure of sentences. Namely, affirmative (the structure all our sentence examples have followed so far), negative, and interrogative (questions). Study the following table:

Simple Present Tenses Sentence Structure Guide Chart

Sentence StructureFormulaExample
AffirmativeSubject + Verb in the base form + -s/es (if singular) + the rest of the sentenceRoy wants to eat cake.
NegativeSubject + do/does + not + Verb + rest of the sentenceThey do not want to join.
Interrogative (affirmative)Do/does + Subject + Verb + rest of the sentence?Does she live here?
Interrogative (negative)Don’t/doesn’t + Subject + Verb + rest of the sentence?Don’t they like the summer?
Interrogative with Question WordQuestion word + Do/does + Subject + Verb + rest of the sentence?Why does Patrick drink so much?

More Examples of Simple Present Tense in Different Sentence Structures

Here are the sentences structures with more examples for your reference:

1. Affirmative/Positive Sentence

Formula for Affirmative/Positive Sentences
Subject + Verb in the base form + -s/es (if singular) + the rest of the sentence

Affirmative/Positive Sentence Examples:

  • The car swerves across multiple lanes.
  • The sisters water the plants two times a day.
  • Ishani dreams of having a tiny house on a farm.
  • His new comic book launches two weeks from now.
  • Katarina sells tickets to the magic show every summer.
  • Kenneth’s foundation organizes feeding programs every month.

2. Negative Sentence

Formula for Negative Sentences
Subject + do/does + not + Verb + rest of the sentence

Negative Sentence Examples:

  • I do not teach Humanities at the university.
  • Do not use the swimming pool if there’s no lifeguard.
  • The theater does not open for three days in November.
  • Nishad does not like to get up before noon on weekends.
  • The school board does not believe the principal’s excuses.
  • Dean’s parents do not want him to move to a different country.

3. Interrogative (affirmative)

Formula for Interrogative Affirmative Sentences
Do/does + Subject + Verb + rest of the sentence?

Interrogative (affirmative) Sentence Examples:

  • Does Ajay do a regular check-up on his motorcycle?
  • Do they remember the agenda of last night’s meeting?
  • Do you have any questions regarding the new policies?
  • Does Adam take the bottles to the refinery every Tuesday?
  • Do the nuns receive regular donations from the community?
  • Do the delivery guys park their vehicles in the employee parking lot?

4. Interrogative (negative)

Formula for Interrogative Negative Sentences
Don’t/doesn’t + Subject + Verb + rest of the sentence?

Interrogative (negative) Sentence Examples:

  • Doesn’t she swim?
  • Don’t you prefer to eat this?
  • Don’t they enter the garden gate?
  • Don’t they have school tomorrow?
  • Don’t you think this is a tense subject?
  • Doesn’t the dentist see patients in the morning?

5. Interrogative with Question Word

Formula for Interrogative Sentences with Question Words
Question word + Do/does + Subject + Verb + rest of the sentence?

Interrogative with Question Word Sentence Examples:

  • When do her children visit?
  • What do you need to do today?
  • Who do you want to meet at the event?
  • How does Jane go to university every day?
  • Why do they want to use the media room later?
  • Where does Callum work every Sunday morning?

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A tense chart with rules and example sentences is an invaluable tool for any learner of English. In fact, there is a huge number of ESL students who create their own tense charts by themselves. Apart from the common verb forms used in everyday conversation, each individual learner encounters a totally different set of verbs, making the method of creating a tense chart tailored to your own personal experience relevant. Tense charts that cover all tenses are all well and good, but there’s also an opportunity to study in greater detail if you have separate tables and charts for each tense, especially with the simple present tense, as it is the most common and one of the most important tenses in terms of practical and daily use.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 4 types of present tense?

The four aspects or forms of the present tense are simple present, present continuous, present perfect, and present perfect continuous.

What is the chart of tense?

A tenses chart or table is a reference tool that aids English language learning. It can contain all tense forms and is categorized properly into the present, past, and future tenses. It can also contain the different types of tenses in isolation.
The great thing about the chart is that you can customize it according to your language and study requirements. You can design it to focus on general tense forms if you like, or the regular or irregular types of verbs and how their conjugations are spelled, or you can focus on just the perfect continuous tense, for instance, or the simple present tense which is illustrated in charts and sample sentences in this article as its subject matter.

What are 10 examples of simple past tense?

1. The concert hall opens at 7.
2. Heat the oil before adding the garlic.
3. They study the types of tenses there.
3. Our flight doesn’t leave for another half hour.
4. We use continuous tenses with helping verbs.
5. Why don’t the students have school tomorrow?
6. Customers place their orders in our online shop.
7. I don’t have any idea what emphatic sentences are.
8. I feel you should know every form of a verb in English.
9. Schools reschedule the canceled game of football yesterday.
10. Marcus works at the flower shop on Tuesdays and at the bakery on weekends.

What are stative verbs?

Verbs that express a state or condition rather than an action are called stative verbs. For example, verbs such as imagine, guess, know, remember and doubt refer to thoughts and opinions. Words such as see, hear, seem, appear, and be signify senses and perceptions. Verbs such as love, hate, like, prefer, and want relate to feelings and emotions. None of these words are action words. As a rule, stative verbs aren’t used in the present continuous tense form, but it has become informally acceptable in spoken English because of natural language evolution. You may hear film characters say things such as “I am liking the vibe here today.” or “Are we hating on her today?” These are okay in casual conversation but not yet a standard rule recognized in academic or business English.

How do you teach simple present tense?

English language instruction varies in different countries. In some places, English is treated like Mathematics, with structures abbreviated in short forms to look like formulas. S + V + O, for example. Or V1 for the base form of a verb, V2 for the past tense form, and V3 for the past participle form. Some places feel that this creates a technical mindset of learning a language, which in principle isn’t a technical concept. Those countries study English through language principles and application, whether by rote, osmosis, or guided input. So it depends on how your students respond to your methodology as you can adopt either. 

At the core of it, tenses should be taught with respect to the roles of time and the aspects that they entail. Present, past, and future may have designated time periods, but a simple present tense verb can refer to an action that hasn’t happened yet or isn’t happening. For instance, “The film starts in an hour.” It’s not all that different from “The film will start in an hour.” To minimize confusion, you have to make students understand that tenses aren’t exclusive to their own timeframe and that one way isn’t more correct than the other. Rather, they are options on how to say the same thing differently. Ultimately, the students have to choose their preferred way. 

Next is to teach simple present tense according to its uses and give practical examples to illustrate how the tense is used to express actions and conditions under those circumstances. 

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William Landry

William Landry

William is a professional English and ESL teacher with over 15 years of experience. He has taught students of all ages, from children to business executives, and has worked with ESL learners from all over the globe. With a degree in English Education, William has developed curriculum for learners of all levels and interests. He is passionate about helping people learn English effectively and shares his knowledge with the LillyPad community. When he’s not teaching or writing, William enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children.

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