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Present Simple Tense 4

IV. Forming Questions and Negatives in the Present Simple Tense

Mastering the art of forming questions and negatives is a crucial aspect of using the present simple tense effectively. This section will guide you through the rules and nuances of constructing these types of sentences.

Forming Questions

To form questions in the present simple tense, we typically use the auxiliary verbs ‘do’ or ‘does’. The structure is: do/does + subject + base form of the verb.


Do you like coffee? (For ‘you’, ‘we’, ‘they’)

Does she play tennis? (For ‘he’, ‘she’, ‘it’)

It’s essential to choose the correct form of ‘do’ based on the subject. ‘Do’ is used with plural subjects and ‘I/you’, while ‘does’ is used with singular third-person subjects (he, she, it).

Yes/No Questions and Short Answers

For yes/no questions, where the answer is either ‘yes’ or ‘no’, this structure is particularly common. It’s also customary to give short answers using the auxiliary verb.


Question: Do they live in London?

Short Answer: Yes, they do. / No, they don’t.

Question: Does he work here?

Short Answer: Yes, he does. / No, he doesn’t.

Forming Negatives

Negative sentences in the present simple are formed by adding ‘do not’ (don’t) or ‘does not’ (doesn’t) before the base verb.


I don’t understand this chapter. (For ‘I’, ‘you’, ‘we’, ‘they’)

He doesn’t speak Japanese. (For ‘he’, ‘she’, ‘it’)

Remember, the main verb remains in its base form after ‘don’t’ or ‘doesn’t’.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

A common mistake learners make is using the wrong auxiliary verb (‘do’ or ‘does’) or adding an -s to the main verb in negative and question forms when it’s not needed.

Incorrect: Does she likes ice cream?

Correct: Does she like ice cream?

Incorrect: They don’t goes to school on Sundays.

Correct: They don’t go to school on Sundays.


Forming questions and negatives correctly in the present simple tense is fundamental for clear communication. This requires not only understanding the basic structure but also practicing to avoid common errors. The next step in mastering the present simple tense is to apply these rules in everyday conversations and written communications.

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