Conjugation & verb forms of the present simple

(Formation of the simple present tense in English)

Table of contents – present simple

On this page you will find the following:

  1. Formation of the present simple
  2. Peculiarities
  3. Verb forms / conjugation
  4. Further explanations and exercises

Formation of the present simple

As a starting point, the infinitive of the verb is the basis for the formation of the present simple. In the 3rd person singular (that means in cases of ‘he, she, it’) it is necessary to add an ‘-s’ or an ‘-es’ to the end of the word. Additionally, you have to pay attention that there is no auxiliary verb in regular statements which means positive sentences. However, in questions and negative sentences the auxiliary ‘to do’ (conjugation of ‘to do’) is employed in most cases. Compare the formation of the following verb forms:

  • The formation of the present simple in statements does not require the auxiliary verb ‘to do’:
    • “He often reads fantasy books.”
    • “Jenny has two penfriends in New Zealand.”
  • In negative sentences, however, the auxiliary ‘to do’ is necessary:
    • “Marc doesn’t eat meat.”
    • “Let’s order a pizza. – No, I don’t want one now.”
  • The same happens in questions (interrogative sentences) where ‘to do’ is also used:
    • Do you know where the train station is?”
    • Does Angela play tennis?”

Peculiarities of the formation of the present simple

When we form the present simple, we need to pay attention to verbs that end with a consonant + ‘y’. This suffix changes from ‘y’ to ‘ies’ in the 3rd person singular.

  • Examples that show the change of ‘y’ to ‘ies’ in the third person singular:
    • to fly → she flies
    • to try → he tries

Verb forms / conjugation of the present simple

Example verb: ‘to speak

Positive/affirmative sentences

Person Positive Short form Question Short form of question
I I speak. Do I speak?
you (singular)
he/she/it She speaks. Does she speak?

Negative sentences

Person Negative Short form* Question Short form of question
I You do not speak. You don’t speak.* Do you not speak? Don’t you speak?
you (singular)
he/she/it He does not speak. He doesn’t speak.* Does he not speak? Doesn’t he speak?

*Info: In spoken English short forms are almost always used. However, in written language the regular forms are still common. Due to the informal use of the English language in emails, social media, blogs, forums, and so on the short form appears more often nowadays.

Explanations relating to the ‘Formation/conjugation of the present simple’

The following explanations relate to the topic ‘Formation of the present simple’ and may be helpful: