Simple Present


The simple present tense is one of the most common tenses in English. This page will explain the rules for forming the tense with regular verbs.

1. Forming the simple present tense

There are only two basic forms for the simple present tense; one ends with -s and the other doesn't. Here are the rules, using the example verb "sing":

Subject Verb Form Example
I simple form I sing
You simple form You sing
He simple form + S He sings
She simple form + S She sings
It simple form + S It sings
We simple form We sing
They simple form They sing

In other words, only THIRD PERSON SINGULAR subjects (he, she and it) have to have a verb with -S.

2. -s or -es ?

With most verbs, the third person singular form is created simply by adding -S. However, with some verbs, you need to add -ES or change the ending a little. Here are the rules:

Verb ending in... How to make the 3rd person singular Example
s Add -ES He passes
z Add -ES She waltzes
sh Add -ES She wishes
ch Add -ES He watches
x Add -ES She mixes
o Add -ES He goes
consonant + y Change Y to I, then add -ES It flies
[anything else] Add -S He sings

When you are sure that you understand the lesson, you can continue with the exercises.