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Present simple tense - Subject + do/does

Look at the picture.

Martina is a teacher, but now she is on the couch asleep. She is not teaching at school. (She is asleep.)

but       She teaches high school students. (She is a teacher.)

Teach(es)/read(s)/do(es) etc. is the present simple

I/we/you/they   teach/read/do etc.

He/she/it   teaches/reads/does etc.

We use the present simple to talk about things in general. We use it to say that something happens all the time or repeatedly (habits and routines), or that something is true in general (facts):

Police officers keep our place safe and secure.
We usually go shopping at weekends.
Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius.
The bank opens at 8:30 in the morning.

I play football.    but      He plays basketball.     
They teach Physics.     but        My mother teaches English.

We use do/does to make questions or negative sentences:
do      I/we/you/they    watch?
does   he/she/it     play?
I/we/you/they    don’t    drink
he/she/it   doesn’t     walk

I come from Brazil. Where do you come from?
They don’t go away very often.
What does this word mean? (not What means this word?)
Rice doesn’t grow in cold climates.

In the following examples, do is also the main verb (do you do/doesn’t do etc.):
A: ‘What do you do?’   
B:‘I work in a restaurant.’
My son is always so lazy. He doesn’t do anything to help.

We use the present simple to say how often we do things:
Students get up at 6 o’ clock every morning.
How often do you play football?
Jay doesn’t drink coffee very often.
Lenny usually goes away two or three times a month.

I promise/I apologize/ I suggest/ I advise/ I insist/ I agree/ I refuse
Sometimes we do things by saying something. For example, when you promise to do something, you can say ‘I promise…’; when you suggest something, you can say ‘I suggest…’:
I promise I won’t be late tomorrow. (not I’m promising)
‘What do you suggest I do?’   ‘I suggest that you…’

In the same way we say: I apologize…/I advise…/I insist…/I agree…/I refuse… etc.
I apologize for my mistakes.
I advise that you study hard.
I insist that they come along.
I agree that you teach him.
I refuse to answer the question.

Present Continuous – Subject + am/is /are + verb-ing

Study this example situation:

David is in his car. He is on his way to work.
He is driving to work.

This means: she is driving now, at the time of speaking.
The action is not finished.

Am/is/are + -ing is the present continuous:

I | am   (= I’m)
He/she/it | is   (=he’s etc.)
We/you/they | are   (=we’re etc.)    

Driving, Working, Doing etc.

I am doing something = I’m in the middle of doing it; I’ve started doing it and I haven’t finished yet:

Please don’t make so much noise. I’m trying to do my homework. (not I try)
‘Where’s Martina?’   ‘She’s having a shower.’ (not He has a shower)
Let’s go out. It isn’t raining any more. (not it doesn’t rain)
(at a party) Hello, Jim. Are you enjoying the party? (not Do you enjoy)
What’s all that noise? What’s going one? (= What’s happening)

The action is not necessarily happening at the time of speaking. For example:

Susan is talking to a friend on a phone. She says: I’m reading a really good book at the moment. It’s about a man who…
Notice: Susan is not reading the book at the time of speaking.

She means that he has started it, but has not finished it yet.
She is in the middle of reading it.

Some more examples:
Karl wants to work in China, so she’s learning Chinese. (but perhaps he isn’t learning Chinese at the time of speaking)
Some of my friends are creating their own websites. They hope to finish it next month.

You can use the present continuous with today/this week/this year etc. (periods around now):
 A: You’re working hard today. (not You work hard today)
 B: Yes, I have a lot to do.
The company I work for isn’t doing so well this year.

We use the present continuous when we talk about changes happening around now, especially with these verbs:
get   change   become   increase   rise   fall   grow   improve   begin   start

Is you’re English getting better? (not Does your English get better)
The population of the world is increasing very fast. (not increases)
At first I didn’t like my job, but I’m beginning to enjoy it now. (not I begin)

Present Continuous vs Present Simple part  1 (Subject + am/is/are +v-ing and Subject + do/does)

Let's compare them together.

Present Continuous (Subject + am/is/are + v-ing) - We use the present continuous at or around the time of speaking. The action is not complete. For example,

I am writing my resume.
The water is boiling. Can you turn it off?  
Listen to those people. What language are they speaking?
A: ‘I’m busy.’   
B: ‘What are you doing?’
I’m getting thirsty. Let’s go and buy some drinks.
Kyle wants to work in China, so he’s learning Chinese.
The temperature of the world is increasing very fast.

Present Simple (Subject + do/does) - We use the simple for things in general or things that happen repeatedly. For example,

I do my homework every day.
Water boils at a 100 degrees Celsius.
Excuse me, do you speak Russian?
It doesn’t rain very much in summer.
What do you usually do in the afternoon?
I always get thirsty in the afternoon.
Most people learn another language when they are young.   
Every day the temperature of the world changes.
We use the continuous for temporary situations:
I’m living with my cousins until I find an apartment of my own.
A: You’re studying hard today.
B: Yes, I have a lot of homework to do.

We use the simple for permanent situations:
My grandparents live in New York. They have lived there all their lives.
Jane isn’t lazy. She works hard most of the time.
What is the difference between I always do and I’m always doing?
I always do (something) means I do it every time. For example,
I always go to work by bus. (not I’m always going)
‘I’m always doing something’ has a different meaning. For example,
‘I’ve lost my glasses again. I’m always losing things.’
I’m always losing things means I lose things very often, perhaps too often, or more often than normal.
You’re always playing computer games. You should do something more active. This means you play computer games too often.
Mina is never satisfied. She’s always complaining. This means she complains too much.

Present Continuous and Present Simple part 2 (Subject + am/is/are + v-ing and Subject + do/does)

We use continuous form for actions and happenings that have started but not finished (they are reading/it is snowing etc.) Some verbs (for example, know and like) are not normally used in this way. We don’t say ‘I am knowing’ or ‘they are liking’; we say ‘I know’ ‘they like’.

The following verbs are not normally used in the present continuous:

like   love   hate   want   need   prefer  know   realize   suppose   mean   understand   believe   remember  belong   fit   contain   consist   seem

I’m thirsty. I want something to drink. (not I’m wanting)
Do you understand what I mean?
Dean doesn’t seem very excited at the moment.
She believes in God.
It belongs to me.
My bag contains some books.
We prefer going to the mall.
They hate using the metro.

1. Think versus thinking
When thinks means ‘believe’ or ‘have an opinion’, we do not use the continuous:
I think Mario is Italian, but I’m not sure. (not  I’m thinking)
What do you think about my opinion? = What is your opinion?
When think means ‘consider’, the continuous is possible:
I’m thinking about the meeting tomorrow. I often think about it.
Trevor is thinking of giving up his position. =This means that  he is considering it.

2. She is selfish versus She is being selfish
He’s being means He’s behaving/He’s acting. Let's compare:
I can’t understand why she’s being so selfish. She isn’t usually like that.
(being selfish means behaving selfishly at the moment)
She never thinks about other people. She is very selfish. (not He is being)
(He is selfish generally, not only at the moment)

We use am/is/are to say how somebody is behaving. It is not usually possible in other sentences. For example,
It’s cold today. (not It is being cold)
Diego is very bored. (not is being bored)

We normally use the present simple (not continuous) with these verbs: see   hear   smell   taste
Do you see the woman over there? (not Are you seeing)
This office smells. Let’s open the door and windows.
We often use can + see/hear/smell/taste:
We can hear a strange noise outside. Can you hear it?
She can smell the fragrance of flowers from here.

You can use the present simple or continuous to say how somebody looks of feels now:
You look well today. | Or | You’re looking well today.
How do you feel now? | Or | How are you feeling now?
I usually feel tired in the afternoon. (not I’m usually feeling)

​Past Simple (Subject + did/worked/lived/wrote…)

Let’s study this example.

Michael Joseph Jackson was born on August 29, 1958. He was an American singer, songwriter, record producer, dancer, actor, and philanthropist. He was called the "King of Pop", his contributions to music, dance, and fashion along with his publicized personal life made him a global figure in popular culture for over four decades. He died on June 25, 2009.

Was/made/died are all past simple.

Past simple often ends with –ed/-d especially regular verbs. For example,

She works in a hotel now. Before that she worked in a restaurant.
I invited them to my birthday party, but they decided not to come.
The security guard stopped me on the way to my dormitory last night.
Brad passed his examination because he studied very harder.

In irregular verbs, the past simple does not end in –ed or -d. For example:

write – wrote                 - Edgar Allan Poe wrote a lot of short stories.
see – saw                     - I saw Jack in town a few days ago.
go – went                    - They went to the mall four times last week.
shut – shut                  - It was cold, so we shut windows and door.

In questions or negatives, we use did/didn’t + infinitive (play/eat/go etc.)

He/ She /We  played, ate, went

did  he/she/they  play?, eat?, go?

He/She/They      didn’t      play, eat, go

A. Did they go out yesterday?
B. Yes, they went to the mall, but they didn’t stay for long.

A: When did Mrs. Brown leave?
B:  About two days ago.

We didn’t invite him to the wedding, so he didn’t go.

A: ‘Did you have time to email your resume?’
B: ‘No, I didn’t.’

In the following examples do is the main verb of the sentence (did…do/didn’t do):

Correct form - What did you do last night?
Incorrect form - What did you last night?)

Correct form - They didn’t do anything at the meeting.
Incorrect form - They didn’t anything at the meeting.

The past of be (am/is/are) is was/were:

I/she/he/it   was/wasn’t
We/you/they   were/weren’t

Was   I/he/she/it  
Were   we/you/they

Note that we do not use did in negatives and questions with was/were:

Their teacher was angry because they were late.
Was the weather good when you were on a holiday?
They weren’t able to come because they were busy doing their homework.
Did she go out last night, or was she tired?

Past Continuous - Subject + was/were + verb-ing

Study this example situation:

Yesterday Karen and Jim played tennis. They began at 10 o’ clock and finished at 11.30.

So at 10.30, they were playing tennis.

They were playing = they were in the middle of playing. They had not finished playing.

Was/were + -ing is the past continuous:

I/he/she/it   was

We/you/they were   playing/doing/working   etc.

I was doing something = I was in the middle of doing something at a certain time. The action or situation had already started before this time, but had not finished:

I started doing                                           I was doing                       I finished doing                       

       past                                                          past                                           now

This time last year, I was living in Brazil.
What were you doing at 10 o’ clock last night?
I waved to Helen, but she wasn’t looking.

Compare the past continuous (I was doing) and the past simple (I did):

Past continuous (in the middle of an action)
I was walking home when I met Dave.(in the middle of an action)
Kate was watching television when we arrived.

Past simple (complete action)
I walked home after the party last night. (= all the way, completely)
Kate watched television a lot when she was ill last year.

We often use the past simple and past continuous together to say that something happened in the middle of something else:

Matt phoned while we were having dinner.
It was raining when I got up.
I saw you in the park yesterday. You were sitting on the grass and reading a book.
I hurt my back when I was working in the garden.

But we use the past simple to say that one thing happened after another:

I was walking along the road when I saw Dave.  So I stopped and we had a chat.


When Karen arrived, we were having dinner. (= we had already started before she arrived)

When Karen arrived, we had dinner. (= Karen arrived, and then we had dinner)

Some verbs (for example, know and want) are not normally used in the continuous:

We were good friends. We knew each other well. (not We were knowing)
I was enjoying the party, but Chris wanted to go home. (not was wanting)

Present Perfect - Subject + has/have + past participle

Study this example situation:

Jane is looking for her vintage mobile phone. She can’t find it.

She has lost her mobile phone.

She has lost her phone. = She lost it recently, and she still doesn’t have it.

Have/has lost is the present perfect simple:

I/we/you/they have (= I’ve etc.)
He/she/it has (= he’s etc.)         finished, lost, done, been   etc.

The present perfect simple is have/has + past participle. The past participle often ends in –ed (finished/decided etc.), but many important verbs are irregular (lost/done/written etc.).

When we say that ‘something has happened’, this is usually new information:

Ow! I’ve cut my hand.
The road is closed. There’s been (there has been) an accident.
(from the news) Police have arrested three men in connection with the bank robbery.

When we use the present perfect, there is a connection to now. The action in the past has a result now:

‘Where’s your book?’   ‘I don’t know. I’ve lost it.’   (= I don’t have it now)
She told me her number, but I’ve forgotten it.   (= I can’t remember it now)
‘Is Nick here?’   ‘No, he’s gone out.’   (= she is out now)
I can’t find my pen. Have you seen it?   (= Do you know where it is now)

You can use the present perfect with just, already, and yet.

Just = a short time ago:

‘Are you thirsty?’   ‘No, I’ve just had some coffee.’
Hello, have you just arrived?

We use already to say that something happened sooner than expected:

‘Don’t forget to send the photos.’   ‘I’ve already sent it.’
‘What time is Melanie leaving?’   ‘She’s already left.’

Yet = until now = Yet shows that the speaker is expecting something to happen. Use yet only in questions and negative sentences:

Has it stopped raining yet?
I’ve written my report, but I haven’t sent it yet.

Note the difference between gone (to) and been (to):
Liza is on holiday. She has gone to Japan.   (= she is there now or on his way)
Charlie is back home now. He has been to Japan.   (= she has now come back)

There is/ There are/ Prepositions

There is + singular noun

There is a laptop on the table.
There is a pen on the floor.
There is a teacher in the room.
There is a dog outside.

Negative form

There isn't a TV in my bedroom.
There isn't a chair in the yard.
There isn't a player in the basketball court.
There isn't an orange in the fridge.

Yes/no question

Is there a river in your hometown?
Is there a museum in that area?
Is there an apple on the table?
Is there a flower shop in that place?

There are + plural noun

There are students in the classroom.
There are beautiful parks in my hometown.
There are two malls in our province.
There are books in the office.

Negative form

There aren't cinemas in that place.
There aren't tables in the room.
There aren't people in the church.
There aren't photos in my book.

Question form

Are there good restaurants in your city?
Are there shops in that place?
Are there wild animals in the mountain?
Are there students around?

Verb be, question word where and prepositions

Verb be (am, is, are)

Affirmative form

I am from Canada.
She is from France.
He is from Mexico.
We are from the United States of America.
They are from China.
You are from Japan.

Negative form

I am not from Greece.
She is not from Spain.
He is not from Thailand.
We are not from United Kingdom.
They are not from India.
You are not from the Poland.

Yes/no questions

Are you from Italy?
Is she from Russia?
Are they from Poland?
Is he from South Korea?

Question word - where

Where are you from?
Where are they from?
Where is she from?
Where is he from?

Prepositions - from, in, on

I am from England.
They are in Singapore.
He is on vacation.

Demonstrative pronouns - this, that, these, those

Singular - this, that
Plural - these, those

Use this and these for things near you.
Use that and those for things far from you.

This is a pen.
These are pens.

That is a book.
Those are books.

Possessive adjectives, question words and prepositions

Possessive adjectives - our, your, their

Our birthdays are in may.
Your birthdays are in September.
Their birthdays are in December.

Question words - what, when, how old

What day is today?
When is your birthday?
How old are you?

Prepositions - in, on

Use in with months and years and on with dates and days of the week.
in October, in 2016
on 25 December, on Sunday

Verb be and possessive adjectives

Verb be

Singular subject ( I, You, He, She, It)
I am a student.
You are a teacher.
He is a doctor.
She is a nurse.
It is a dog.

Plural subject (We, You, They)
We are students.
You are teachers.
They are nurses.

Possessive Adjectives (my, your, his, her)
My book is on the table.
Your bag is on the chair.
His pen is in his bag.
Her glasses are on the shelf.

simple past vs present perfect

1. Use the simple past to talk about events that began and ended in the past.

- The Russians launched the first artificial satellite in 1957.

- I did my homework last night.

- She cooked spaghetti yesterday.

- He played basketball last week.

- It ran out of gas.

- They wrote a letter to the president.

- We bought a new car last month.

- You read the whole book. 

2. Use the present perfect to talk about an indefinite time in the past.

- Many countries have launched satellites into space.

- She has cooked some spaghetti for lunch.

- He has played basketball many times.

- It has ran out of gas twice this month.

- They have written some letters to the president.

- We have bought a new car recently.

- You have read the whole book twice.

Simple present versus present progressive tense

Simple present tense or present tense

1. We use the simple present tense for facts or things that are true in general.

For examples,

- The euro is the official currency of the European Union.
- The digital generation includes today's teenagers.
- My parents don't read newspapers online. (negative statement)
- Does Portugal belong to the European Union? (yes/no question form)

Simple present vs present progressive or continuous

1. We use the simple present to talk about habits or routines while present

progressive is used for actions occurring or happening now or for a temporary

situation. For examples,

- The temperatures change with the seasons of the year. (habits/routines)
- The temperatures in the poles are changing drastically. (happening now)

Question forms

1. Questions with be

How is the food?

What was the party like yesterday?

Are you a teacher?

Were they late?

2. Questions with main verb

Where do you live?

What time did they arrive at the party?

Does the film have a happy ending?

Did you make the food?

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