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Simple Present Tense #3, by Dennis Oliver


Verb Tenses: Simple Present (#1)


"Simple Present" is actually not a very good name for
this verb tense because its uses are not really simple
and its time is not exactly present. Instead, this tense
has two common uses:

 1.   to show actions or situations that are
accepted as facts or truths;
2.   to show habits (situations or actions
that are repeated many, many times).

Detail / Examples:


showing facts or truths

Use of the simple present tense shows that
an action or situation is generally believed
to be true or is a generally accepted fact.


Most of the U.S. is in North America.

Spanish and Portuguese are
Romance languages.

The chemical symbol for iron is Fe.

A nickel equals five cents.

The bodies of insects have three parts.

Bronze contains both copper and tin.


showing habits

Use of the simple present tense can also
show that an action or situation is a habit--
it's typical, usual, and predictable.


Jim is very punctual.

Mayumi's letters are interesting to read.

He smokes.

They eat in the company cafeteria.



Special Notes:


Adverbs of frequency are very common
in sentences with the "habit" use of simple
present tense:

Annie is never on time.

Bob's parents are generally at home
by 5:30 PM.

Dr. Jones is in her office from 9:00 AM
until 4:00 PM five days a week.

Ahmed seldom gets up before 9:00 AM.

Ji-Hyun frequently visits her cousins
in Pusan.

They take a break every three hours.

2.   Notice that one-word frequency adverbs
(always, often, rarely, never, sometimes, etc.)
come after BE but before other verbs.
3.   Notice that frequency adverbs which are
phrasal (more than one word) are commonly
at the end of a sentence.


Next: another common use
for the simple present tense

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