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

How to form Verbs ending in “s” in the Present Simple tense

In the present tense, there are are two Present Simple verb forms   the verb to be or other verbs.

  • With the verb be we use am, are, and is. The negative is formed by adding not to the verb: is not (isn’t), am not and are not (aren’t)

Other verbs in the   Present Simple verb form    in the 3rd (third) person singular

we add “s”, “es” or “ies” at the end of the verb

  • I run
  • You run
  • He/she/it runs
  • We run
  • You run
  • They run

There are three ways to make the “S form”:

          by adding “s” to the end of a verb (run >runs, sit >sits,see >sees, play > plays)

          by adding “es” to the end of the verb that has a sibilant soundss, ch, x, tch, sh, zz (watch > watches, guess > guesses, mix > mixes)

          by changing final “y” to “ies” after a consonant+y (study > studies, party > parties, fly > flies)

–       irregular forms 

Extended table: more examples of verb + s; es, ies

* Look at the table below to see the difference between verbs finishing with vowel + y (stay, play etc) and verbs finishing with consonant + y (cry, fly, study etc)

Spelling of third person singular forms in Present Simple Tense

Most verbs: Add “s” to infinitive(1) verbs finishing with  one vowel + “y” :add “s”

Work ->


Sit ->


Stay ->

stays (1)

See ->


know ->


Live ->

*Verbs ending with consonant and “y”:
Change “y” for “ies”












Verbs ending in sibilant sounds –s, -z, -ch, -sh, or -x add “es” to infinitive












Verbs ending with “o”
Verb “have”










Think about these verbs, what group do they go in?

spy, rush, get, play, tax, employ, sew, follow, fight, boil, deny, meet, look, reach, display, pass, fry, echo, teach, ask, touch, kiss, send, buy, fax, mix, hiss

Extended table: Check your answers of verbs with “s” “es” and “ies” here


  • Work:   I work in London; They work in Berlin; He works in an office
  • Study: You study English; we study geography; she studies French
  • Finish:  I finish early; you finish late; John finishes tomorrow
  • Pass:   You pass your exams; they pass their exams; Maria passes her exams
  • Do:     They do their homework; we do our homework; She does her homework
  • Have:  We have a nice car; you have a big car; Fred has a black car
  • Play:  I play chess very badly, your sister plays very well
  • Mix:   The chef mixes the flour with the water




Here you can compare it with the Present Continuous

Back to Grammar lessons

See “Comments” section below for more comments about:

  • What is the Third person singular

  • Why we need to add “es”

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

Read below or add a comment...

  1. justathought says:

    Why is it that ‘he must’ is not ‘he musts’?

    • admin says:

      Thank you for your question.
      “must” is a Modal auxiliary verb ( other examples are: can, would, will, should …) these verbs “accompany” an infinitive of a verb.
      – I must go to school at 6 o’clock today
      – He can play football very well

      These types of verbs don’t change their form in the third person:

      Mary is wearing shorts, she “must” be going to play tennis.
      Bob’s children have blue eyes, Bob’s wife must have blue eyes too.

  2. nima says:

    let me first thank you for your comprehensive writing. I’m trying to find a way to make this subject more interesting for kids. How could I teach some students between 10 and 14 years old when to add ‘s’ and when to add ‘es’ or ‘ies’ without making them bored? I mean is there a game or something for this purpose?

  3. akhil says:

    are there any verbs which have plural form in s/es forms

    • admin says:

      I suppose you mean:
      – we
      – you (plural)
      – they
      NO, we ONLY add “s”, “es” or “ies” to the third person SINGULAR of Present Simple verbs in the affirmative

      She likes apples
      My father works in London
      That big dog runs very fast

  4. aziz says:

    Can some one tell me difference Between simple present and oresent indifinite tense

    • admin says:


      Thank you for your question.

      The “present indefinite tense” is another name for the Present Simple tense. Nowadays it is much more usual to find “Present Simple” or “Simple Present” in grammar books and classes online.

  5. Abdul Wahab Nazhand says:

    Salam dear,

    I also have a question. can you dear show me some of the verbs which ends in “S” therefore to add es at the end?

    very respectfully,
    Abdul Wahab Nazhand

  6. Arif Ansari says:

    Dear Admin,
    When we change thief/knife/calf from singular to plural, then these change into thieves/knives/calves. But when we change chef/cliff/roof then these are changing in chefs/cliffs/roofs, why ? Please answer.

    • admin says:

      Dear Arif,

      Thanks for your question and your observation. You are right that there are a number of anomalies in English spelling. I always recommend people to remember that over many centuries English spelling has reflected pronunciation, and generally the pronunciation of the “educated” classes.
      You mentioned ‘roof’ has ‘roofs’ as its plural, but ‘hoof’ can have either ‘hoofs’ or ‘hooves’.
      A number of spelling anomalies were created at the time when books began to be printed. The type setters were paid by the letter, so if they put extra letters in a word they would get paid more!

  7. vinod parmar says:

    But why we use s es ies

    • admin says:

      Hi Vinod,
      Thanks for your question. As you will have seen in the article, in the third person singular (she, he, it, my mother, Mary, John etc) we add an “s”, “es” or “ies” to a verb in the affirmative Present Simple.
      For example: Mary lives in Swansea; My dog runs very fast; Fred studies hard when he has exams.

  8. vinod parmar says:

    Pls rply fast sir

  9. hatixhe says:

    o zot i madh po palidhje sen po nejse edhe ju kishe po boni diqka sen sun gjeta nta

    • admin says:

      Thank you for your comment. You seem to be writing in Albanian, unfortunately I don’t understand the translation into English.

  10. hatixhe says:

    Npaq both kthema

    • admin says:

      Thank you for your comment. You seem to be writing in Albanian, unfortunately I don’t understand the translation into English.

  11. hatixhe says:

    why u are not replying my coment

    • admin says:

      I’m sorry for not replying before, I normally reply within 48 hours unless I’m travelling.

  12. Kay says:

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

    • admin says:

      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

      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

      2 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

      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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