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How does it work? The present simple.

This was probably the first tense, or time period, that you learnt when you started studying English grammar. For this reason it's probably the one that is forgotten the most as well. You move on to more complicated grammatical structures and the building blocks of present simple are forgotten.

Here's a quick reminder.

The structure is as follows:

Positive Negative Question

I work. I don't work. Do I work?

You work. You don't work. Do you work?

He, she, it works. He, she, it doesn't work. Does he, she, it work?

We work. We don't work. Do we work?

They work. They don't work. Do they work?

In the positive sentences the verb work changes - for he, she and it - an 's' is added. Exceptions:

'es' is added for verbs that end in 'ch', 'sh', 's' or 'x' eg

watch - watches

wash - washes

bus - buses

fix - fixes

'ies' is added to most verbs that end in 'y'

fly - flies

baby - babies

notify - notifies

However, if the verb ends in 'ay', 'ey', 'oy' or 'uy' only an 's' is added.

play - plays

pay - pays

annoy - annoys

For negative and question sentences the verb work stays the same. It is the verb 'to do' that changes. The verb 'do' changes to does or doesn't for he, she and it.

Let's look at some present simple sentences using the verb 'to speak'.

I speak English. She speaks German.

I don't speak German. She doesn't speak English.

Do you speak English? Does she speak Italian?

Does he speak German? Do they speak Italian?

There are a few rules surrounding the present simple. Curious about how many you have remembered? Take this little quiz to find out:

Which sentences are correct?

For the incorrect sentences, what do you think the sentence should say?

I like cooking.


My son play the guitar.


My friend don't speak French.


My cat doesn't like carrots.


Do they eat out every night?


Do your dog like going for a walk?


She don't like my new haircut.


Do he play football every day?


You visit me often.


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