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

How to form Verbs ending in “S”  Present Simple tense

In the present tense, there are are two Present Simple verb forms  depending on if it is the verb to be or not.

  • 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)

In the   Present Simple verb form    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 ->

works

Sit ->

sits

Stay ->

stays (1)

See ->

sees

know ->

knows

Live ->

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

Cry->

cries*

Hurry->

hurries*

Fly->

flies*

Imply->

implies*

Try->

tries*

 

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

Push->

pushes

Fix->

Fixes

Catch->

catches

Confess->

confesses

Buzz->

buzzes

Finish->

finishes
Verbs ending with “o”
Verb “have”

Go->

goes

Do->

does

Have->

has

 

 

 

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

Examples: 

  • 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”

68 Responses to “verbs with “s”, “es” and “ies” in Present Simple”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. shreyash says:

    you have to give more examples

    • sadegh says:

      have to isn’t a good word for say ,

      • admin says:

        “have to” is very good to say:
        – My holidays are finished I have to go to work tomorrow.
        – John has to prepare for his exams.

        We use it to show an obligation

        But in the case above it would be better to say “You should give some more examples” It would be even better in natural English to use a question: “Could you give some more examples?”

  2. Cristina says:

    for verbs or nouns that end in Y and are preceded by a vocal, you do not do the change to “ies”. Example: to buy – buys; toy – toys.

    • Ian Coldwell says:

      Thank you Cristina. If you look at the table you will see examples of both types, those with vowel + y and those with consonant + y. I have just added a little extra comment and will rewrite the page with more examples.

  3. josetorres says:

    muy interesante

  4. hamid says:

    that’s useful! nice!

  5. Farah says:

    good..but please add more the example of verb 1+es/s, thank you..

  6. Xamju says:

    Thanks. More examples of words ending in “y” would be useful

  7. Kamal says:

    Really thanx alot ,i really need this information because i’m very confused in this present simple tense in where ‘s/es’ is use and where this is not !
    last again thank you

    • admin says:

      Thanks for your comment Kamal, your feedback is always welcome.
      If you have any other confusions about the English language, send us a message and we’ll try to help you

  8. Zia Ur Rahman says:

    Show me verbs that ending with single (s) only.
    Thanks.

    • idrees khan noori says:

      Sir I have spling mistake so haw can I mak my mistake

      • admin says:

        Yes, it is true that you have spelling mistakes.
        How can you avoid making these mistakes? Try to do 5 minutes reading and writing practice everyday. If it is possible to do it 2 or 3 times a day it will be better. Only use texts that you know are correct

  9. Zia Ur Rahman says:

    Show me the verbs ending with single (s).

  10. Zia Ur Rahman says:

    Show me verbs ending with single s

    • admin says:

      Dear Zia,

      Thank you for your question. Of course there are no verbs in their infinitive forms that end with a single “s”. This also the case for verbs that finish with “z” (waltz is an exception)

      I put “s” rather than “ss” along with z, ch, sh and x to keep it simpler. Also the English language is constantly changing and evolving, so it’s not impossible that a new verb may appear that ends with a single “s”. It will probably come from the world of telephony or technology in the same way that “google” has now become a verb.

      If you have any other queries, please don’t hesitate to leave another comment

  11. Jaseem Akhtar says:

    Dear Admin,
    i have a question regarding ‘s & es’. In present indefinate tense why do we add ‘s or es’ at the end of the verb when we use third person singular as a subject. what is the nessecity according to grammer. please give some example with your answer.

    • admin says:

      Dear Jaseem,
      Thank you for your question.
      It is not a question of grammar as such, it is a matter of pronunciation. With spelling in English (and probably other languages) we have to consider that the spoken language existed before reading and writing was established. Therefore the spelling of the words that end in sibilant sounds (x; s, ch, z; sh) reflects how we pronounce the words. This is because if we want to pronounce these verbs – miss, mix, match, mash with an additional “s” sound we need to add a vowel sound after the x, ss, ch, etc or it becomes extremely difficult to pronounce. So the spelling: misses, mixes, matches and mashes guide us to the correct prounciation for the written word.

      If it is really necessary for the third person singular to be different than the others, whilst all the past forms of a verb are the same, is another question which I can’t answer fully here. “he”, “she” and “it” (3rd person singular) are not strong sounding personal pronouns and without the final “s” there could be confusion in understanding if we are referring to “you” or another person.

      This can happen sometimes with the singular “you” and the plural “you”, as a teacher my students don’t always know if I’m referring to one person or more. Young people in Britain have started to use “yous” to refer to the plural “you”. I personally don’t like it, but as English is constantly evolving it could one day become acceptable.

      I hope that helps you. If I can be of any other help please don’t hesitate to post another comment
      Regards Ian

  12. JASEEM AKHTAR says:

    Dear Ian,

    Thanks for the answer.
    Now I have understood that why we use “es” with those words that end gives sibilant sounds (x; s, ch, z; sh).

    Q.No.1 why do we use “es” with the verb “GO” in present tense like (He goes why we do not make he gos) as the word GO does not give the sibilant sound. please explain with examples.

    Q.No.2 why do we use “ies” with those verbs which have 2nd last word as a consonant like (Cry & Dry) as we make sentence (he cries or she dries why do not we make it he crys and she drys) please explain with examples.

    Q.NO.3 As you answered that (“he”, “she” and “it” (3rd person singular) are not strong sounding personal pronouns and without the final “s” there could be confusion in understanding if we are referring to “you” or another person) Can you explain why (3rd person singular) are not strong? if we do not use final “s” at the end of verbs for 3rd person so what will make confusion?

    I shall be very thankful for your answer.
    Regards
    Ian

    • admin says:

      Dear Jaseem,
      Thanks for getting back to me. To be perfectly honest with you it is not always possible to explain “why” some of these things have happened with the English language. Some languages (Spanish for example) have an official language committee that meet regularly to approve or reject words or expressions as being acceptable for their language. The English language does not have this, changes take place over the years as a result of how the language is used. In the past English grammar was more complex with similarities to German verb forms.
      Bearing this in mind I’ll answer your questions. But remember that these spelling rules are exactly the same as the ones we apply for forming plurals of nouns
      1. adding “es” after a verb ending with “o” (go > goes seems) is the same as changing tomato > tomatoes. The idea is to maintain the pronunciation of the “o”. In go, tomato and hello the “o” is pronounced like “oh”, if “goes” was spelt “gos” the “o” would be pronounced like the “o” in “off”
      do > does has different pronunciation, I don’t know why it needs to have “es” it’s probably to maintain the same spelling rule!
      2. I am not sure “why” it is necessary to change the “y” for “ies” – I am not a historical lexicographer. However, I would hazard a guess that it is because in old English “crys” would have been pronounced the same as “cris”
      3. Hundreds of years ago all the declinations of a verb would have been different, like in German or Spanish nowadays. The forms “I, you (sing), he/ she/it, we, you (plural) and they” of the verb “speak” in Spanish are “hablo, hablas, habla, hablamos, hableis, hablan” Every word was different in the past in English as well and over time these have changed with use. Why has the 3rd person singular form not changed? We can’t be certain. I suggested that maybe when we talk to a person (A) about another person (B) it’s better to have another verb form so that (A) knows we are talking about (B) and not (A). This is just conjecture on my part.

      Jaseem, the mechanics of forming the 3rd person singular are as I explained in the article above. They have evolved over time and may well continue changing over the next 100 years. But for the moment you and I have to use the present-day rules of adding “s”, “es” or “ies”

      Thank you once again

  13. Hanna says:

    Hi! We have a little debate on this one:

    1. Ike and Hanna loves and misses you so much.
    2. Ike and Hanna love you and miss you so much.

    Which one is correct? Please help.

    • admin says:

      Hi Hanna!
      Number 2 is the correct answer.
      Ike and Hanna (they) is the third person plural so we don’t add an “s” to the verb.
      If you want to say:
      “Ike and Hanna love and miss you so much”
      It is also correct

  14. Hashim says:

    do we use s or es with a verb if the subject is a proper noun?

    • admin says:

      Yes, of course. The important thing is that it is the 3rd person singular:
      Mary misses her family. (miss)
      Mr Smith’s sister goes running everyday. (go)
      Hashim studies very hard. (study)
      François lives in Paris. (live)

  15. payal says:

    Dear admin,
    I m confused third person verb we are use open instead of open but why their is use closes inated of close???

    • admin says:

      Dear Payal,

      Thank you for your question. I am not certain that I completely understand what you are asking me, but here are some comments:

      If we are using the 3rd person SINGULAR (and not the PLURAL) of the Present Simple we always add an “s” in the affirmative form.

      – Mary “closes” the windows before she goes to bed (Mary is “She” – 3rd person SINGUL)
      – Mary “opens” the windows in the morning when she wakes up
      or
      FRED and MIKE “close” the windows before they go to bed (Fred and Mike is “they” = 3rd person PLURAL)
      FRED and MIKE “open” the windows in the morning.

      So as you can see “close” and “open” work in the same way
      Does that answer your question?

  16. payal says:

    Please reply me ..we are use closes instead of close but why we use open as is..

  17. Estefania says:

    tengo una duda en esta oracion
    Susy and her family travel to Ambato
    travel es sin s o con s

    • admin says:

      Hola Estefania! Gracias por tu pregunta:
      Tienes que pensar si el sujeto del verbo es singular o plural. Entonces si fuera Susy sola, seria “Susy travels to Ambato”. Pero aquí Susy no viaja sola, viaja con su família = plural. La respuesta correcta es “Susy and her family travel to Ambato”

      ¿Te ha quedado claro? Solo ponemos una “s” final en el presente en la tercera persona SINGULAR, jamás si hay 2 ó más personas.

  18. eugene says:

    insecurities kills the cat, is it correct?

    • admin says:

      Hi Eugene,
      Insecurities is the plural of the noun “insecurity” so the phrase should be:
      Insecurities kill the cat, or: Insecurity kills the cat

      Or could it be that you are looking for the proverb “Curiousity killed the cat” which is used to warn of the dangers of unnecessary investigation or experimentation.

      I hope this helps 🙂

  19. nasir says:

    Hi,,
    We add “s or es” with verb when singular subject is used but we know that “i” is also a singular subject then why we don’t add “s or es” with verb..

    • admin says:

      Thank you Nasir
      “I” and “you” are singular subjects. But we only add “s, ies or es” when it’s a third person singular. That means any one person or thing that is not “I” or “you”, for example: she, he, it, my mother, the President, Jane, the blue car etc etc

  20. Jabbar says:

    Sorry I don’t understand about this part of model and homework so I didn’t do that .I will try to do next time.

  21. sardar khan says:

    dear sir ,
    i like very very your websit .please sir i wish to learn english grammar with you .please you give me a time .

    • admin says:

      Dear Sardar,
      Thank you very much for your comments, please tell your friends 🙂
      If I understand correctly, you work in High Tech engineers which is in India and I live in Spain. At the moment we don’t offer online or Skype English courses.

      I’m very sorry about that

  22. gopal says:

    Hello sir I m having doubt of articles where it is used a,an, and the can u tell me I am not aware that and by the way thanks for telling me about s/es I got my all answer

  23. malik haider ali says:

    why we can not use ‘did’ as halping verb in past indefinite tense instead of using only 2nd form of verb?e.g I did go to school???plz reply

    • admin says:

      Dear Malik, I am not certain that I understand your question.
      Is your question: why can’t we use “did” in affirmative forms of Past Simple tenses? If this is you question, here is your answer.
      The Past Simple is formed in a similar way to the Present Simple. We use the past form of the verb in the affirmative:
      I went to school at 8.00am
      and use the auxiliary “did” in questions and negatives accompanied with the infinitive form of the verb:
      What time did you go to school?
      I didn’t go to school at 9.00am

      In exceptional circumstances we can use did in the affirmative to make special emphasis:
      Mike: You didn’t go to school at 8.00, you went at 9.00am!
      Terry: That’s not true, I DID go to school at 8.00, my teacher can tell you.

      I hope that answers your question

  24. malik haider ali says:

    dear admin plz answer my question

  25. Malik Haider Ali says:

    Hi Admin!
    I have another question please clear my confusion..
    Q.no:1 why repetition of words is not allowed in grammar?

    • admin says:

      Hi Malik!
      Could you give me an example of what confuses you, please? What type of repetition of words do you mean?

      • malik haider ali says:

        e.g The time is passing slowly slowly…

        • admin says:

          Hi Malik again,

          In this example it would be more usual to say: Time is passing slowly, very slowly

          Similarly we often use words like slowly to give instructions:
          Quickly, quickly! we are going to be late!

          Generally within a sentence we would modify the adjective to make it more emphatic.

          So instead of saying “She had long, long hair” We might say “She had really long hair”

          I hope that helps.

  26. 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.

  27. 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?

  28. akhil says:

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

    • admin says:

      Akhil,
      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

  29. aziz says:

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

    • admin says:

      Aziz,

      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.

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