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engbites1English Bites! are practical, bite-sized tips to help you improve your English for work. Published twice a week, the articles include useful advice covering different aspects of business English including grammar, vocabulary, writing, speaking as well as fun topics. It'll take just a few minutes to read each tip. You can subscribe to English Bites! from the Newsletters link above. After that, you'll receive notifications of all new tips by email.

Main Uses of the Present Simple Tense

06 May 2021

gramm1) For 'Permanent' Conditions or Repeated Actions

We use the present simple tense to describe conditions that are relatively unchanging, often-occurring or widely accepted as fact. Common uses include:

  • generalising or stating facts;
  • describing companies, products and things;
  • describing people, their preferences and routines; and
  • asking questions about these things.

Shanghai is the biggest city in China.

Our company has 30,000 employees worldwide.

The manufacturing division produces children’s toys.

How long does it take you to commute to work?

I like my job. I work in Technical Operations.

My boss always gets to the office by 7:30 a.m.

2) For Schedules and Timetables (general/future time)

We can use the present simple tense to talk about scheduled events or timetables, especially with such verbs as: arrive, be, begin, close, come, end, finish, leave, open, return, and start. If referring to the future with these verbs, we also use a future time expression like at midday, later today, tomorrow, next year, etc.

Our departmental meeting starts at 3 p.m. (general time)

Does Flight 191 leave at 4:00 p.m.? (general time)

My plane gets in at 6 a.m. tomorrow. (future)

The training program ends at the end of March. (future)

3) For Showing Status rather than Action

A number of verbs are normally used in the present simple (rather than the present continuous) to describe a state or condition. These “status” verbs include:

  • Verbs of description or appearance:

be, appear, contain, consist of, cost, depend on, include

  • Verbs of thinking:

believe, doubt, feel, forget, guess, imagine, know, mean, need

  • Verbs of the senses:

feel, hear, see, smell, sound, taste

  • Verbs of possession:

belong to, have, own, possess

  • Verbs of emotion, opinion, feeling:

care, dislike, hate, hope, like, love, mind, regret

  • Verbs of intent:

agree, intend, promise

My office is quite large and newly redecorated.

Our product line includes several kinds of computers.

Their proposal seems to be acceptable.

My company believes employees perform best when they are happy.

I hear the phone ringing. Please excuse me while I answer it.

Does this folder belong to Wilson?

I promise never to be late again.

My boss agrees with my idea.

We intend to implement your proposal early next year.


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