What is Grammar?
Grammar is the system of a language. People sometimes describe grammar as the “rules” of a language; but in fact no language has rules*. If we use the word “rules”, we suggest that somebody created the rules first and then spoke the language, like a new game. But languages did not start like that. Languages started by people making sounds which evolved into words, phrases and sentences. No commonly-spoken language is fixed. All languages change over time. What we call “grammar” is simply a reflection of a language at a particular time.
Do we need to study grammar to learn a language? The short answer is “no”. Very many people in the world speak their own, native language without having studied its grammar. Children start to speak before they even know the word “grammar”. But if you are serious about learning a foreign language, the long answer is “yes, grammar can help you to learn a language more quickly and more efficiently.” It’s important to think of grammar as something that can help you, like a friend. When you understand the grammar (or system) of a language, you can understand many things yourself, without having to ask a teacher or look in a book.
Simple Present Tense
How do we make the Simple Present Tense?
|subject||+||auxiliary verb||+||main verb|
There are three important exceptions:
- For positive sentences, we do not normally use the auxiliary.
- For the 3rd person singular (he, she, it), we add s to the main verb or es to the auxiliary.
- For the verb to be, we do not use an auxiliary, even for questions and negatives.
Look at these examples with the main verb like:
|subject||auxiliary verb||main verb|
|+||I, you, we, they||like||coffee.|
|He, she, it||likes||coffee.|
|–||I, you, we, they||do||not||like||coffee.|
|He, she, it||does||not||like||coffee.|
|?||Do||I, you, we, they||like||coffee?|
|Does||he, she, it||like||coffee?|
Look at these examples with the main verb be. Notice that there is no auxiliary:
|You, we, they||are||French.|
|He, she, it||is||French.|
|You, we, they||are||not||old.|
|He, she, it||is||not||old.|
|Are||you, we, they||late?|
|Is||he, she, it||late?|
How do we use the Simple Present Tense?
We use the simple present tense when:
- the action is general
- the action happens all the time, or habitually, in the past, present and future
- the action is not only happening now
- the statement is always true
|John drives a taxi.|
|It is John’s job to drive a taxi. He does it every day. Past, present and future.|
Look at these examples:
- I live in New York.
- The Moon goes round the Earth.
- John drives a taxi.
- He does not drive a bus.
- We meet every Thursday.
- We do not work at night.
- Do you play football?
Note that with the verb to be, we can also use the simple present tense for situations that are not general. We can use the simple present tense to talk about now. Look at these examples of the verb “to be” in the simple present tense – some of them are general, some of them are now:
|Am I right? Tara is not at home. You are happy.|
|The situation is now.|
|I am not fat. Why are you so beautiful? Ram is tall.|
|The situation is general. Past, present and future.|