Tips to practice the simple present tense

When teaching and practicing the simple present tense students must understand that the present simple is used to describe routines, habits, daily activities, and general truths. The following practice tips range from mechanical drills to meaningful practice.  Teachers can adapt them to fit their students needs.

Oral drills

  • Students practice forming simple present negative statements.  The teacher provides a sentence in the affirmative; students change it to the negative.
    Teacher: My father watches TV in the evening.
    Students: My father doesn’t watch TV
  • You can also use the same type of drill to practice question forms and short answers.
    Teacher: Does your father watch TV at 4 o’clock in the morning?
    Students: No he doesn’t.

Meaningful practice

For a more meaningful way to practice the simple present tense,

You can also practice the simple present in a more meaningful way.

1. For example to practice simple present statements with adverbs of frequency, the teacher calls on students individually to provide sentences with always, usually, often, sometimes, rarely, or never to describe their usual habits.
Teacher: Nancy, ‘read the newspaper’.
Nancy: I never read the newspaper.

2. devise a questionnaire:

  1. What’s your name?
  2. Where do you live?
  3. What do you do?
  4. What do you do in your free time?
  5. What sport do you like?
  6. Do you practice it?
  7. When and where do you practice it?

Then proceed as follows:

  • Students answer the questions. Help them by providing verbs they will probably need.
  • Students work in pairs to ask and answer the questions.
  • Students write a paragraph about their partners and read it loud.

3. Here is another activity to consolidate the use of the simple present:

  • On the board, draw a chart with many columns each labeled with a different job.
  • Students are put into groups.
  • Each group is given individual sentences on slips of papers. Each sentence describes an activity a person would do in one of the jobs indicated on the chart. For example: ” a mechanic repairs cars”, “a journalist writes articles”…
  • Make sure that groups understand the meaning of the sentences and provide help.
  • Students read the sentences and match them with the jobs.
  • A representative of each group is asked to write on the board sentences underneath the appropriate job.

3. A variation of the previous activity.

  • Ask students to provide a description of jobs.
  • Then they take turns reading descriptions.
  • The other students try to guess the job.

4. You can also use a chain game to practice the simple present for routines and habitual action.

  •  Ask students to continue a story. Start the story as follows:
    “My cousin always has a busy day. He gets up early in the morning. At 5:00 o’clock, he goes jogging…”
  • This must be written on the board and ask students to continue the story.
  • Each student adds a new sentence to continue the story.


Put the words in brackets in the correct form of the simple present.

e.g : John (work)… in a restaurant.John
works in a restaurant.

  1.  The sun (rise)… in the east.
  2. My parents (like )… slow music very much.
  3. I always (drive)… to work.
  4. Nancy (do )…. Judo.
  5. Leila (drink )… four cups of coffee a day.

Circle the correct answer

  1.  Sue / I like jogging in the morning.
  2. Alan / I usually writes reports in his job.
  3. Bill / Sara and Sue always cleans her room.
  4. Tony / we visit this museum regularly.
  5. I / Leila watches soap opera.

Circle the correct answer

  1. Do / does Leila like swimming?
  2.  Where do / does Alice and Alan live?
  3. What time do / does the sun rise?
  4. Do / does the Smiths go to this restaurant?
  5.  What do / does you think of the new manager?

Put these sentences into the negative form

  1. The sun rises in the east.
    It….in the west
  2.  They speak Spanish in Spain.
    They… Chinese in Spain.
  3. Vegetarians eat fruits and vegetables.
  4.  They drive on the left in Britain.
    They… on the right.

4 thoughts on “Tips to practice the simple present tense”

  1. I find this page on the present simple very useful, especially for my weakest learners.
    Thanks for your help.

  2. i must confess that this page is mind-blowing!
    i’m astonished and speechless!
    thank you so much for sharing this unprecedented, genuine ideas!
    im just wondering why there is not any new posts on this page!

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