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Grammar - Present Simple Empty Grammar - Present Simple

Ven Giu 05, 2009 12:59 pm
Articolo molto interessante che spiega l'uso del Present Simple.
Livello: Intermedio

Let's start with how verbs are made.

Verbs are made from two parts. There is an auxiliary, and a main part.
Together the auxiliary and the main part make the tense of the verb.
For example:
“I am thinking” . Am is the auxiliary, thinking is the main part of the verb. Together they make the tense. Here, the tense they make is the present continuous.

(Remember auxiliaries do not have any meaning as words. They just tell us more about the verb. There is a verb do, but gramatically it is different from the auxiliary do.)

Once the auxiliary and the main part have made a verb, the verb has a time, and it has a voice. We usually describe verbs by their time and voice.
For example:
The past passive; the future continuous; the present perfect.

The present simple.

In this part of the course we are going to look at verbs with the present time, and the simple voice. That is, the present simple.
For example:
(i) I speak English
(ii) I do not speak Albanian.

The Voice

Like all verbs, the present simple has two parts – an auxiliary and a main part. The auxiliary is do and the main part is the infinitive form of the verb speak. But if you look at example (i) you will see that the auxiliary do is not there. But it is there in example (ii).

This is because the voice of the present simple is the simple voice. When we use the simple voice, we do not use do with positive statements.
For example:
I like ice cream.
Even though we don’t use the auxiliary do in positive statements, we do use it in negative statements
I do not like ice cream

We also use the auxiliary do with questions:
Do you like ice cream?
And with affirmations
Yes, I do like ice cream.

Ok – so that is the important thing to remember about the simple voice. When you make a positive statement (I drink beer in summer) you don’t use the auxiliary. Any other time you use the simple, and it is not a positive statement, you use do. (I don’t like winter. Do you like winter?)

The Time

Remember, the present simple is in two parts. We have looked at the voice, which is the simple, and some of the things to remember about it. Now we must look at the time, which is the present.

The main thing to remember about the present time in English is the third person singular. In English the third person singular pronoun is he, she or it.
When we use a verb with the present time and she, he or it as the subject, the auxiliary finishes with s.
For examples:
Does he like ice cream? It does not look easy. Yes, she does speak English.
Also with any noun that is singular:
That car does not go very fast. Does that cake taste good?

But with the present simple there is a problem. I have told you that -
(i) Auxiliaries must end with s for the third person singular.
(ii) Positive statements using the simple voice do not have auxiliaries.

So what happens when you need to use rules (i) and (ii) together? The auxiliary must have s, but you don’t use it? In fact, that’s almost right. A positive sentence in the simple voice doesn’t use an auxiliary, but it does use s, and because we have to put the s somewhere, we put it on the end of the main part of the verb.
For example:
He does not live in Oxford. (see where the s is on the end of the auxiliary?)
He lives in London. (no auxiliary, but the s has moved.)

Remember: if there is an auxiliary, the s goes on the auxiliary (e.g. does). If there is no auxiliary the s goes on the end of the main part (e.g. lives). You only need the lives in a third person present singular verb.

Ok, that’s the theory. The good news is that all the other verbs are easier. Only the present simple is so complicated. But now we know how to form the present simple, the next question is when do you use it?

2. Ok, when do we use it?

First, we must look at when you do not use it. You do not use the present simple for talking about things at this moment. For that we use the present continuous.
For example:
I am studying English”, I am surfing the internet.

We use the present simple for things that are true for a long time, or always
For example:
I live in England; I read a lot of books; coffee tastes good”.

Because we often use the present simple to describe things, one of the most important uses of the present simple is with adjectives.
For example:
I am English; That book is interesting: The coffee is good.

Because we use the verb to be so much in the present simple, it is very, very irregular. (Words that are used a lot are often irregular). It does not use an auxiliary, even in negatives, questions and affirmations. And it changes:
I am. He/she/it is. We are. You are. They are.
(But you will notice that even the verb to be keeps to the rule that third person present singular ends in s – is).

Quello che segue e' un esempio dell'uso del Present Simple:

“My name is Tara. I live in London which is the capital of England. We eat eggs for breakfast every day. My sister doesn’t like eggs. Do you like them? I do. We go to the local school. It rains a lot, so we often take an umbrella to school. The students at my school speak English, but we study German and French too. They are difficult. I don’t like science, but I do like history. What do you like?”

Buon Studio
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