The Simple Present of Verbs Other Than the Verb to Be

CHAPTER 2.  THE SIMPLE PRESENT OF VERBS OTHER THAN THE VERB TO BE

1. Formation of the simple present

The Simple Present of any verb other than the verb to be is formed from the bare infinitive of the verb. As shown in the following examples, the bare infinitive of a verb consists of the infinitive without the word to. The bare infinitive is the form in which English verbs are usually listed in dictionaries. For example:

InfinitiveBare Infinitive
  to be  be
  to walk  walk
  to work  work

In the Simple Present of verbs other than the verb to be, the form of the verb used with the subjects I , youwe and they is the same as the bare infinitive. The form of the verb used with the subjects heshe and it has the ending s added to the bare infinitive.

For example, the Simple Present of the verb to work is conjugated as follows:

I work
you work
he works
she works
it works
we work
they work

The form of the verb used with the subjects heshe and it is generally referred to as the third person singular

See Exercise 1.

a. The simple present of the verb To Have

The Simple Present of the verb to have is slightly irregular, since the bare infinitive is have, whereas the form of the verb used in the third person singular is has. The Simple Present of the verb to have is conjugated as follows:

I have
you have
he has
she has
it has
we have
they have

See Exercise 2.

2. Spelling rules for adding s in the third person singular

Some verbs change their spelling when s is added in the third person singular.

a. Verbs ending in y

The English letters aeio and u are generally referred to as vowels. The other English letters are generally referred to as consonants.

When a verb ends in y immediately preceded by a consonant, the y is changed to ie before the ending s is added. In each of the following examples, the consonant immediately preceding the final y is underlined.

Bare InfinitiveThird Person Singular
  study  studies
  fly  flies
  carry  carries

However, when a verb ends in y immediately preceded by a vowel, the y is not changed before the ending s is added. In each of the following examples, the vowel immediately preceding the final y is underlined.

Bare InfinitiveThird Person Singular
  say  says
  enjoy  enjoys
  buy  buys

See Exercise 3.

b. Verbs ending in o

When a verb ends in o, the letter e is added before the s ending. For example:

Bare InfinitiveThird Person Singular
  do  does
  echo  echoes
  go  goes

c. Verbs ending in ch, s, sh, x or z

When a verb ends in a sibilant sound such as chsshx or z, the letter e is added before the s ending. For example:

Bare InfinitiveThird Person Singular
  pass  passes
  push  pushes
  watch  watches
  fix  fixes
  buzz  buzzes

See Exercise 4.

3. Pronunciation of the es ending

A syllable is a unit of pronunciation, usually consisting of a vowel sound which may or may not be accompanied by consonants.

When a verb ends in a sibilant sound such as chsshx or z, the es ending of the third person singular is pronounced as a separate syllable. The reason for this is that these sounds are so similar to the sound of the es ending, that the ending must be pronounced as a separate syllable in order to be heard clearly.

In each of the following examples the bare infinitive consists of one syllable, whereas the form of the verb used in the third person singular consists of two syllables.

Bare InfinitiveThird Person Singular
  pass  passes
  push  pushes
  catch  catches
  mix  mixes

Similarly, when s is added to verbs ending in cegese or ze, the final es is usually pronounced as a separate syllable. In each of the following examples the bare infinitive consists of one syllable, whereas the form of the verb used in the third person singular consists of two syllables.

Bare InfinitiveThird Person Singular
  race  races
  rage  rages
  praise  praises
  doze  dozes

However, when s is added to a verb ending in e preceded by a letter other than cgs or z, the final es is not pronounced as a separate syllable. In each of the following examples, both the bare infinitive and the form of the verb used in the third person singular consist of one syllable.

Bare InfinitiveThird Person Singular
  make  makes
  smile  smiles
  dine  dines
  save  saves

See Exercise 5.

4. The auxiliary Do

With the exception of the verb to be, verbs in modern English use the auxiliary do to form questions and negative statements in the Simple Present.
The Simple Present of the verb to do is conjugated as follows:

I do
you do
he does
she does
it does
we do
they do

Auxiliaries are verbs which are combined with other verbs to form various tenses. It should be noted that when an auxiliary is combined with another verb, it is the auxiliary which must agree with the subject, while the form of the other verb remains invariable.

When the auxiliary do is combined with another verb, the other verb always has the form of the bare infinitive.

a. Questions

In order to form a question in the Simple Present of any verb other than the verb to be, the Simple Present of the auxiliary do is added before the subject, and the bare infinitive of the verb is placed after the subject. For example:

Affirmative StatementQuestion
  I work.  Do I work?
  You work.  Do you work?
  He works.  Does he work?
  She works.  Does she work?
  It works.  Does it work?
  We work.  Do we work?
  They work.  Do they work?

See Exercise 6.

b. Negative statements

In order to form a negative statement, the Simple Present of the auxiliary do followed by the word not is placed before the bare
infinitive of the verb. For example:

Affirmative StatementNegative Statement
  I work.  I do not work.
  You work.  You do not work.
  He works.  He does not work.
  She works.  She does not work.
  It works.  It does not work.
  We work.  We do not work.
  They work.  They do not work.

See Exercise 7.

In spoken English, the following contractions are often used:

Without contractionsWith contractions
  do not  don’t
  does not  doesn’t

c. Negative questions

To form a negative question, the Simple Present of the auxiliary do is placed before the subject, and the word not followed by the bare infinitive is placed after the subject. However, when contractions are used, the contracted form of not follows immediately after the Simple Present of the auxiliary do. For example:

Without contractionsWith contractions
  Do I not work?  Don’t I work?
  Do you not work?  Don’t you work?
  Does he not work?  Doesn’t he work?
  Does she not work?  Doesn’t she work?
  Does it not work?  Doesn’t it work?
  Do we not work?  Don’t we work?
  Do they not work?  Don’t they work?

See Exercise 8.

d. Tag questions

The auxiliary do or does is used for a tag question which follows a statement containing the Simple Present of a verb other than the verb to be. In the following examples, the negative tag questions are underlined. Contractions are usually used in negative tag questions.

Affirmative StatementAffirmative Statement with Tag Question
  I work.  I work, don’t I?
  You work.  You work, don’t you?
  He works.  He works, doesn’t he?
  She works.  She works, doesn’t she?
  It works.  It works, doesn’t it?
  We work.  We work, don’t we?
  They work.  They work, don’t they?

See Exercise 9.

e. The verb To Have

It should be noted that, particularly in British English, in the case of the Simple Present and Simple Past of the verb to have, questions and negative statements are sometimes formed in the same way as for the verb to be, without the use of the auxiliary do.
e.g. He has a sister, hasn’t he?

EXERCISES for Chapter 2

  1. Using the Simple Present tense, fill in the blanks with the correct forms of the verbs shown in brackets. For example:
    I ______ to the radio. (to listen)
    listen to the radio.

He _______ to the radio. (to listen)
He listens to the radio.

  1. She __________ the guitar. (to play)
  2. We __________ soccer. (to play)
  3. They _________ to talk. (to like)
  4. He __________ ice cream. (to like)
  5. You _________ your friends often. (to call)
  6. He _________ the office every day. (to call)
  7. She __________ regularly. (to practise)
  8. They __________ once a week. (to practise)
  9. We __________ here. (to shop)
  10. It __________ delicious. (to taste)

  11. Using the Simple Present tense, fill in the blanks with the correct forms of the verb to have. For example:
    I ____ a pen.
    have a pen.

He ___ two pencils.
He has two pencils.

  1. I _______ many books.
  2. You _______ an apartment.
  3. He _______ a bicycle.
  4. We _______ fun.
  5. They _______ two sleds.
  6. She _______ milk in her tea.
  7. I _______ a warm sweater.
  8. We _______ breakfast at eight o’clock.
  9. He _______ an alarm clock.
  10. They ________ a sense of humor.
  11. Paying attention to which verbs change their spelling before adding s in the third person singular, fill in the blanks with the Simple Present of the verbs shown in brackets. For example:
    He always _______ promptly. (to reply)
    He always replies promptly.

She _____ little. (to say)
She says little.

They _____ bridge once a week. (to play)
They play bridge once a week.

  1. He __________ it. (to deny)
  2. They __________ to be on time. (to try)
  3. It _________ to be careful. (to pay)
  4. She __________ hard. (to study)
  5. You __________ good manners. (to display)
  6. He always __________ himself. (to enjoy)
  7. She __________ to Ireland once a year. (to fly)
  8. We __________ five people. (to employ)
  9. He __________ his friends. (to accompany)
  10. She __________ chocolate chip cookies every week. (to buy)
  11. Paying attention to which verbs take s and which take es in the third person singular, fill in the blanks with the Simple Present of the verbs shown in brackets. For example:
    He ____ everywhere on foot. (to go)
    He goes everywhere on foot.

It _____ surprising. (to seem)
It seems surprising.

They _____ skiing. (to teach)
They teach skiing.

  1. She __________ a great deal of work. (to do)
  2. He __________ television every evening. (to watch)
  3. She __________ a horse. (to own)
  4. We __________ the dishes every night. (to do)
  5. She __________ she had a pair of skates. (to wish)
  6. He _________ us to call him. (to want)
  7. She __________ she made a mistake. (to confess)
  8. He usually __________ the truth. (to tell)
  9. They __________ apples to make cider. (to press)
  10. It __________ out easily. (to wash)
  11. For each of the following verbs, underline the letter or letters representing the sound preceding the es ending, and then indicate the number of syllables in the verb. For example:
    wishes __
    wishes 2

laces __
laces 2

takes __
takes 1

  1. watches __
  2. teases __
  3. likes __
  4. rushes __
  5. faces __
  6. dines __
  7. misses __
  8. tames __
  9. scares __
  10. passes __
  11. pinches __
  12. wades __
  13. Change the following affirmative statements into questions. For example:
    She walks to work.
    Does she walk to work?

They take the bus.
Do they take the bus?

  1. I hurry home.
  2. He drives a truck.
  3. You follow the news.
  4. They want a pet.
  5. She likes flowers.
  6. We need tea.
  7. She answers the questions.
  8. He drinks coffee.
  9. I learn quickly.
  10. It rains heavily.
  11. Change the affirmative statements given in Exercise 6 into negative statements. For example:
    She walks to work.
    She does not walk to work.

They take the bus.
They do not take the bus.

  1. Change the affirmative statements given in Exercise 6 into negative questions. Give both the forms without contractions, and the forms with contractions. For example:
    She walks to work.
    Does she not walk to work?
    Doesn’t she walk to work?

They take the bus.
Do they not take the bus?
Don’t they take the bus?

  1. Add negative tag questions to the affirmative statements given in Exercise 6. Use contractions for the tag questions. For example:
    She walks to work.
    She walks to work, doesn’t she?

They take the bus.
They take the bus, don’t they?

ANSWERS TO THE EXERCISES for Chapter 2

Answers to Exercise 1:
1. plays 2. play 3. like 4. likes 5. call 6. calls 7. practises 8. practise 9. shop 10. tastes

Answers to Exercise 2:
1. have 2. have 3. has 4. have 5. have 6. has 7. have 8. have 9. has 10. have

Answers to Exercise 3:
1. denies 2. try 3. pays 4. studies 5. display 6. enjoys 7. flies 8. employ 9. accompanies 10. buys

Answers to Exercise 4:
1. does 2. watches 3. owns 4. do 5. wishes 6. wants 7. confesses 8. tells 9. press 10. washes

Answers to Exercise 5:
1. watches 2 2. teases 2 3. likes 1 4. rushes 2 5. faces 2 6. dines 1 7. misses 2 8. tames 1 9. scares 1 10. passes 2 11. pinches 2 12. wades 1

Answers to Exercise 6:
1. Do I hurry home? 2. Does he drive a truck? 3. Do you follow the news? 4. Do they want a pet? 5. Does she like flowers? 6. Do we need tea? 7. Does she answer the questions? 8. Does he drink coffee? 9. Do I learn quickly? 10. Does it rain heavily?

Answers to Exercise 7:
1. I do not hurry home. 2. He does not drive a truck. 3. You do not follow the news. 4. They do not want a pet. 5. She does not like flowers. 6. We do not need tea. 7. She does not answer the questions. 8. He does not drink coffee. 9. I do not learn quickly. 10. It does not rain heavily.

Answers to Exercise 8:
1. Do I not hurry home? Don’t I hurry home? 2. Does he not drive a truck? Doesn’t he drive a truck? 3. Do you not follow the news? Don’t you follows the news? 4. Do they not want a pet? Don’t they want a pet? 5. Does she not like flowers? Doesn’t she like flowers? 6. Do we not need tea? Don’t we need tea? 7. Does she not answer the questions? Doesn’t she answer the questions? 8. Does he not drink coffee? Doesn’t he drink coffee? 9. Do I not learn quickly? Don’t I learn quickly? 10. Does it not rain heavily? Doesn’t it rain heavily?

Answers to Exercise 9:
1. I hurry home, don’t I? 2. He drives a truck, doesn’t he?
3. You follow the news, don’t you? 4. They want a pet, don’t they? 5. She likes flowers, doesn’t she? 6. We need tea, don’t we? 7. She answers the questions, doesn’t she? 8. He drinks coffee, doesn’t he? 9. I learn quickly, don’t I? 10. It rains heavily, doesn’t it?

English Grammar Lessons
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