Simple Present Tense Guide

The simple present tense (Geniş Zaman in Turkish) is by far the most commonly used tense in English. This tense is used for hobbies, situations, actions, and almost everything. Although its exact equivalent in Turkish is “Basit geniş zaman”, it is the same tense in terms of usage with the simple present tense. However, in Turkish, the simple present tense is not used so intensely and in most cases, present continuous tense’s suffix is used instead of simple present tense. However, when you express a situation in English that needs to be expressed in the simple present tense with the present continuous tense suffix, you mean something different. After you learn the basic rules of the simple present tense, you will be able to understand this better with the examples.

What Does Simple Present Tense Mean?

The simple present tense is a type of tense in which the subject, verb, and object are sufficient. There is not any auxiliary verb or different additions. It is used to express most of the situations in English and it corresponds to ”geniş zaman” in Turkish. Because its rules are simple and widely used, it is usually the first type of tense that people learn in English. However, there are some differences in usage between the Turkish “geniş zaman”.

What are the Rules of the Simple Present Tense?

To make a sentence with the simple present tense, it is enough to use the verb after the subject and lastly the object to give details. For example; “I live in Ankara.” means ”Ankara’da yaşarım” in Turkish. However, this sentence can not be made in Turkish with the same tense, especially in spoken language. It is often said ‘’ Ankara’da yaşıyorum.” Word-to-word translation of this sentence is “I’m living in Ankara.” Similarly, this usage also is not the correct equivalent in English as in Turkish, because, in English, the suffix-ing (-yor) is used only for the actions that are taking place at that moment. Therefore, when you say ”I’m living in Ankara”, you mean ” Tam şu an Ankara’da yaşıyorum, Ankarada’yım” in Turkish and this is not a simple present tense expression. Therefore, most of the things that are said in Turkish in the form of present continuous tense are in fact given through simple present tense in English.

Another difference between Turkish and English regarding the usage simple present tense is the use of adjectives. When you say “O çocuk çok zayıf” in Turkish, there is not any verb in the sentence but only the subject, and the adjective. However  to make a sentence like in the example, we need to use the simple present tense in English, and it is “That boy is very thin.” Thus, in order to use an adjective in a sentence, the verb “is” (to be ) should be inserted into the sentence.

To make negative sentences in the simple present tense, it is enough to use the “not” suffix. For example; She does not (doesn’t) like ice cream.” or “They are not (aren’t) successful.” etc.

For an interrogative sentence, “do, does, are, is” should be used at the beginning of the sentence. For example; “Does he swim every day?” or “Are you happy?” etc. If you need to ask a question starting with a negative suffix, then “don’t, doesn’t, aren’t, isn’t” come to the beginning of the sentence. “Isn’t the dog ready to go for a walk?” or “Doesn’t he come with use” etc.

While “I, you, we, they” subjects do not receive any suffix in the simple present tense, if “he, she, it” subjects are used and we don’t add “does” auxiliary verb to the verb, they get “s”. Like “She often makes delicious cakes for him.” The sentence “She often does make delicious cakes for him.” is not wrong, but it is not commonly used in English.

Where Do We Use Simple Present Tense?

The simple present tense is a type of tense that is encountered almost everywhere because it is used too much. In daily conversations, advertisements, articles, bookmarks and in all kinds of situations that you can think of, you make use of simple present tense.

To express general situations: The simple present tense is used to describe certain and general facts, such as “The color of the sky is blue.” It can be “The color of the sky is blue.” too.

Talking about daily routines and habits: The simple present tense is used to describe hobbies, daily actions, or things one does or doesn’t like doing in general.

For example, in Turkish we can say; “Haftanın 3 günü spor salonuna giderim.” or “Haftanın 3 günü spor salonuna gidiyorum.” We can use two different tenses to describe this situation in Turkish, yet in English, it can only be expressed by the simple present tense: “I go to the gym 3 days a week.” As it is mentioned earlier, ” I’m going to gym 3 days a week” in Turkish, is not a correct use in English. Sentences that are made with Turkish present continuous tense but pointing the simple present tense, are only used in the simple present tense form in English. It is important not to ignore or forget this difference.

Giving directions, timetables or user manual guides: The simple present tense is also used for giving direction or a making a general statement for a common purpose such as departure and arrival schedules of vehicles, signs or directions indicating a specific road – direction. For example; “The train arrives at 9 pm.” or “The road goes to the town center.” etc

Giving orders or instructions: Simple present tense is also used in instructions or giving orders through imperative sentences like in the case of traffic signs. For example, in English-speaking countries like the United States, traffic instructions such as  “Turn left” or “Don’t cross” are used in the imperative form with the simple present tense. The simple present tense is also used for situations that give orders or instructions in daily life. “Don’t do that again!” or “Make it quickly.” etc.

In storytelling: The simple present tense is used especially in literary expressions such as fairy tales and stories. “The princess brushes her hair every night.” etc.


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