Simple Present and the Third Person

We add -s to present tense verbs when in the third person–so when talking about people or things. If your language does not change the verb form in the third person, you may want to practice this.

Examples: He always talks about soccer.  The neighbor’s dog barks all the time.

Practice the Simple Present Third Person

Make a list of 10 people that you know–family, friends and associates (coworkers or fellow students). If you like animals, you can also use pets for this exercise. Choose 1 person (or pet) at a time and answer these questions using the simple present.

1. What is the person’s name?My sister’s name is Jane.
2. What are three things that this person does regularly?Jane takes care of her kids, cooks for the family and works as a nurse.
3. What are three things that this person does sometimes?Sometimes, Jane goes to the park, plays tennis or goes on long walks.
4. What are three things that this person never does?Sometimes, Jane goes to the park, plays tennis, or goes on long walks.
5. Usually, how does this person make you feel?She’s a nice person. Usually, she makes me feel good. Every now and then, she irritates me.

If you tend to forget the third person in the simple present, repeat this exercise every day for a while. After working with people that you know, you can imagine the lives of people that you see during your commute or about town. 

Intermediate speakers: stay with the simple present–use one word verbs. Advanced speakers may be comfortable using more complex verb forms with this exercise.

Using To Be or Can Be to Describe

The simple present is often used to provide a general description. It is common to use to be and can be. To be (am/is/are) is used to describe overall traits and can be is used to describe occasional traits.

Respond using at least 2 sentences. Use both to be and can be.

1. What are you like?I am a quiet person, but I can be talkative sometimes.
2. Describe a very good friend.My friend is very serious. He can be funny when he’s in a good mood, but that’s not very often.
3. Describe your parents.My parents are kind people. They can be strict.
English Practice Main PageSpeak the Verb Tenses
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