When do we add ‘s’, ‘es’ and ‘ies’? reader’s question

Reader’s question

Add ‘s’ – exceptions?

Kay sent us this comment and question on our article about adding ‘s’, ‘es, and ‘ies’ in the third person singular of the present simple:

Verbs with “s”, “es” and “ies” in Present Simple


Thanks for your kind gesture! Please (1) are there words that (2) don’t have s in third person and (3 and 4) are there verbs that don’t need s in future tenses ? Thanks once more.

This the answer we gave her:

Thanks for your comment and questions Kay.
You will see that I have numbered your questions:

  1. I suppose that you mean verbs and not words. All verbs that have an infinitive with “to” (to have, to go, to like, to study etc) need to add an ‘s’ form in the third person singular affirmative. In negatives and questions we add an ‘s’ to the verb ‘do’ which is used as an auxiliary:
    – Does John live in London
    – Mary doesn’t study at university
  2. Other auxiliary (modals) that don’t have an infinitive with “to” do NOT add an ‘s’:
    – My dog can swim
    – Patricia would like to visit Amsterdam
    – James should train harder if he wants to run faster
  3. We ONLY add an ‘s’ to verb forms in the future when we use present tenses (simple, continuous, perfect) to indicate the idea of “future”:
    – My mother is coming to visit us in December.
    – Max works night shift next week.
    – When Dad has arrived, we’ll start to eat
  4. If we use modal verbs like ‘will’,’must’ etc for the future we do NOT use an ‘s’:
    – I think that my teacher will be in a meeting at 10.00
    – Your dog must be on a lead in the children’s festival tomorrow

I hope that answers your question.

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Is grammar important? Yes, but …… it is not everything

It is not impossible to communicate in English without studying English grammar.

Millions of native English speakers are testament to this fact. If you are not a native English speaker and do not have regular contact with good English speakers it is difficult to get a good model for communication using English. In this case it is extremely important to get as much contact as possible with the English language through internet, TV, radio, podcasts, books, newspapers, magazines etc.

In addition to this daily contact with “real English” if we want to speak English well , understand English well, write English well it is necessary to find out how to understand English grammar. How we use English verb forms (tenses) is essential to developing good communication in English. Effective use of the English language is the key to good communication.

We are preparing a series of master classes about how we use English grammar correctly. I am not going to talk about how we construct the verb form but I want to give the basic concepts of how these grammatical forms are used by native English speakers.

Sometimes people try and complicate English grammar. English grammar has evolved over many hundreds of years to become a simplified version of what went before. The basic rules of verb forms (tenses) are very simple, they are perhaps different from your own language but they are not difficult.

After learning and using correctly the basic verb forms then English becomes more complicated because it is difficult to find rules to follow. It is at this stage that it is essential to have regular, daily, contact with the language.

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