Meaning[edit | edit source]
There are various ways in which the present simple is used.
- General truths: Water freezes at 0⁰ Celsius.
- General repeated actions: I usually drive to work.
- Present states: That car belongs to George.
- Instructions, directions, demonstrations, etc: I engage first gear and gently let the clutch up.
- Running commentary: Matthews heads the ball to Charlton; he stops it, turns, feints and….
- Literary present: [example].
- Narrative present: Then this chap just walks up to me and punches me.
- Timetable future: Luke leaves for Moscow next Wednesday.
- Real conditional clauses: If you drive me to the station,
- Present speech acts, where the verb is the act: I declare this fête open.
Form[edit | edit source]
The form of the present simple is straightforward, but rather hard to describe:
- Be is used as a standalone verb, without an auxiliary.
- Modal verbs are used as auxiliaries if necessary.
- Main verbs can be used as independent verbs (i.e. without an auxiliary) in clauses that are affirmative statements.
- Auxiliary do is otherwise used as an auxiliary verb in questions, negatives and exthingywhatsitmyjigs.
Pedagogy[edit | edit source]
The present simple is usually the first two aspectual tense to be learnt in English, although sometimes the present continuous is learnt before the present simple (especially in France it seems).