Present simple

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Study this example situation:

Alex is a bus driver, but now he is in bed asleep. He is not driving a bus. (He is asleep.)
but He drives a bus. He is a bus driver. drive(s), work(s), do(es) etc. is the present simple:

I/we/you/theydrive/work/do etc
he/she/it .drives/works/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, or that something is true in general:

  • Nurses look aft er patients in hospitals.
  • I usually go away at weekends.
  • The earth goes round the sun.
  • The cafe opens at 7.30 in the morning.

We say:

I workbuthe worksyou gobutIt goes
they teachbutmy sister teachesI havebuthe has

We use do/does to make questions and negative sentences:

do doesI/we/you/they he/she/itwork? drive? do?
I/we/you/they he/she/itdon’t doesn’twork drive do
  • I come from Canada. Where do you come from?
  • I 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.):

  • ‘What do you do?’ ‘I work in a shop.’
  • He’s always so lazy. He doesn’t do anything to help.

We use the present simple to say how often we do things:

  • I get up at 8 o’clock every morning.
  • How often do you go to the dentist?
  • Julie doesn’t drink tea very often.
  • Robert usually goes away two or three times a year.

I promise / I apologize etc.

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. (not I’m promising)
  • ‘What do you suggest I do?’ ‘I suggest that you …

In the same way we say: I apologise … / I advise … / I insist … / I agree … / I refuse … etc.

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