Verbs that use Simple Tense


Simple Tense is the most basic form of the verb. We use it for actions which happen regularly or a generally true situation.

For example

We have class on Monday and Friday mornings, but we don’t have class on Saturday.

He plays basketball very well. He usually practices at the gym.

She doesn’t eat meat. She is a vegetarian.

When students write in English, they tend to write the way that they speak.

The library is on Main Street.

When I lived in Japan, I took the train every day.


You can see that …, such as:

Simple Tense is used with words like usually, often, never, sometimes

Simple Tense is used for habits or something that is always true.

Simple Tense can be Present or Past.

Simple Tense does not use BE-verb (is, am are) and an action verb (have, live, play…) together.

There are some verbs that are almost always Simple Tense.

like / dislike / enjoy

have / want / need

be (am, is, are)

feel / seem / sound / look

know / think / understand / hear


forget / remember

These verbs can use other tenses, but usually use Simple Tense.



speak (a language)

call (a name)

start / finish

If you use these in Present Continuous (be [verb]+ing), you show that something is not usual, or a special situation.

We usually have class in 410, but today we‘re having class in 501.

Common errors are…:
  • Using Present Continuous for verbs that use Simple Present.

I am forgetting the address.  (forget / forgot)

  • Using +ing in Simple Present

They thinking the store is open.

  • Using Present Continuous in academic writing.

When students are coming to the U.S., they are worrying about many things. (come / worry)

*You may hear this in speaking, but we rarely use present continuous in academic writing.


 If you are using a computer, change the font color for every verb. Then, think about the tense. Remember that [verb]+ing is not a verb, but a noun!

If your paper is printed, circle every verb. Then, look and check each verb.


Teachers: Download a printer-friendly copy of this page.

VerbTense-Simple (pdf)


Do you know how to use Present Tense?

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