Spelling rules for Third Person 'S'

The third person singular is very special in the Present Simple because when we talk about he, she or it, we add s or es to the base form of the verb. But, remember, there are some rules for when to use s or es.

Spelling for Present Simple 3rd person

Adding 's' for most verbs

For most verbs, we just add s to the end of the base form of the verb.


  • live → lives
  • start → starts
  • enjoy → enjoys
  • rain → rains

Adding 'es' for specific verb endings

For verbs ending in s, ss, sh, ch, or x, we add es instead of just s.

  • miss → misses
  • wash → washes
  • search → searches
  • fix → fixes

Verbs ending in 'y'

If a verb ends in y, and the letter before the y is a consonant, we change the y to i and add es.

  • study → studies
  • carry → carries
  • try → tries
  • fly → flies


Some verbs have unique spelling changes in the third person singular form.

  • have → has
  • do → does
  • go → goes