The simple aspect (or indefinite aspect as it's occasionally called) is the verb form used to express a fact. Unlike other aspects (like the progressive aspector the perfect aspect), the simple aspect does not make it clear whether the action is a complete action or a habitual action. For example:Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in Britain.(fact)We climbed Ben Nevis yesterday.(This is a fact. Context tells us it's a complete action.)He climbs Ben Nevis every year.(This is a fact. Context tells us it's a habitual action.)Any verb (in the past, present or future) in the indefinite (or simple) tense is said to be in the simple aspect.The Simple Aspect Is Not SimpleA verb in the simple aspect relies on a combination of context and tense to clarify whether the action is complete or on going. For example:He ate cake.(The tense tell us this is a complete action, but it is unclear whether this was a habitual action or not. The context doesn't make it clear.)He ate a cake.(This is also a complete action. This time, context suggests it wasn't a habitual action.)He eats cake.(This time, it's unclear whether this is a habitual action or just a fact.)This aspect's name (i.e., the simple aspect) does not do justice to how complicated it is.
However, with the exception of the simple future tense (which is formed with the auxiliary verb will), verbs in the simple aspect are not formed usingauxiliary verbs or participles. So, it's quite simple to form.Examples of Verbs in the Simple AspectHere are some examples of verbs in the simple aspect.
In the Past TenseI cleaned the window.(simple past tense)They cleaned the window.(simple past tense)In the Present TenseI clean the window.(simple present tense)They clean the window.(simple present tense)In the Future TenseI will clean the window.(simple future tense)They will clean the window.(simple future tense)Forming the Simple AspectHere is an overview on how to form the simple aspect:
Forming the Simple Past Tense (for most verbs)
[base form of the verb] + edThey jumped.This is how the simple past tense is formed with most verbs. However, there are several spelling rules to consider.
Read more about forming the simple past tense.
Forming the Simple Present Tense (for most verbs)
[base form of the verb by itself]
or (if it's the third person singular (he, she, or it))
[base form of the verb] + sWe jump.He jumps.This is how the simple present tense is formed with most verbs. However, there are several spelling rules to consider.
Read more about forming the simple present tense.
Forming the Simple Future Tense
"will" + [base form of the verb]He will jump.Verb Tenses Showing the Simple AspectHere is a list of the verb tenses. The ones in the simple aspect are shaded.
The 4 Past TensesExamplesimple past tenseI wentpast progressive tenseI was goingpast perfect tenseI had gonepast perfect progressive tenseI had been goingThe 4 Present TensesExamplesimple present tenseI gopresent progressive tenseI am goingpresent perfect tenseI have gonepresent perfect progressive tenseI have been goingThe 4 Future TensesExamplesimple future tenseI will gofuture progressive tenseI will be goingfuture perfect tenseI will have gonefuture perfect progressive tenseI will have been goingYour score:
Click on the example with a verb in the simple aspect:
A. I read all day.
B. I have read it already.