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Present Simple and Present Continuous

Average: 4 (238 votes)

I surf

'I surf / I am surfing.'

What's the difference between the Present Simple / Present Continuous and how to use them.

We use the present simple tense when we want to talk about fixed habits or routines – things that don’t change.

We use the present continuous to talk about actions which are happening at the present moment, but will soon finish.

Compare these two statements:

  • (present simple) I play tennis.
  • (present continuous/ progressive) I am playing tennis.

(present simple) ‘I play tennis’ tells us that playing tennis is something the speaker always does. It is part of a routine or habit. We can call this a permanent situation.

(present continuous/ progressive) ‘I am playing tennis’ tells us that the speaker is playing tennis right now. Soon the game will be over. We call this a temporary situation.

With the present simple we say:

I play tennis

You play tennis

We play tennis

They play tennis

He/she/ it plays tennis.

With the present continuous we say:

I am playing tennis

You are playing tennis

We are playing tennis

He/she/it is playing tennis

Frequency Adverbs we use with the Present Simple

With the present simple we use these frequency adverbs:

(Notice that the adverb comes before the main verb in the sentence.)

Always: ‘I always read before I go to bed.’

Often: ‘Her sister often comes shopping with us.’

Frequently:‘Michael frequently visits his family.’

Sometimes:‘You sometimes go to the gym, don’t you?’

Occasionally:‘It occasionally rains in summer.’

Seldom:‘They seldom ask for help.’

Rarely: ‘He rarely goes out without his backpack.’

Hardly ever:‘I hardly ever eat pizza.’

Never: ‘Japanese people never wear shoes inside.’

Time Expressions we use with the Present Continuous

With the present continuous we use these time expressions:

(Notice that the time expression can come at the start or at the end of the sentence.)

At the moment: ‘I’m watching TV, at the moment.’

These days: ‘Paul’s living in Cardiff, these days.’

Now: ‘What are you doing, now?’

Nowadays: ‘I think you are smoking too much, nowadays.’

Complete these sentences below using either the present simple or present continuous.

  • (Play) I golf every weekend.
  • (Play) The children outside at the moment.
  • (Work) Haruka today.
  • (Work) You can’t borrow my lawnmower because it doesn’t
  • (Make) Smells good! What are you ?
  • (Make) My husband never me breakfast.
  • (Live) Pauline is in Hong Kong.
  • (Live)Do you still with your parents?


i do it goodly

the lesson passed good
i am very happy because ia passed it goodly

hi friends

easy lesson but useful


the lesson is very easy


love it, both tenses are my fav.

im doing it well Wink

each day is a new beginning, so, never give up y..


although the lession is very easy yet it is the best way to correct our grammer

hey it'sgood

did it well......all right

very nice

:\ i can easily answer

thank u so much for these

thank u so much for these informations.



Nice Lesson.I like the

Nice Lesson.I like the expressions best of all. It is rather difficult to find this information.

so easy

so easy


I liked the simple way that you have had explained the difference between the simple pesent tense and the present comtinuous tense.

Please, explain


I didn't do any mistakes and it wasn't difficult but "Pauline is living in Hong Kong"- is it fact or she is living at the moment? Why Present Continious? Please, explain

Re: Living in Hong Kong

The Present Cont. shows that something is happening at the moment and will probably end in the future. Basically, it is used for a temporary situation. 'She lives in Hong Kong' is the simple present; it shows fixed or permanent situations - situations that will not change.



Nataly Thank you, Chris, I


Thank you, Chris, I understood


thanks it's very easy to understand the differences between these tenses.

Free Lessons

I think this is a good practice. I pray I should continue to have time to study my lessons. You have done well for me to make your lessons free.Now I know the value of paying for my internet subscription for N10,000 monthly.


Please explain me why "(Work) You can’t borrow my lawnmower because it doesn’t Wrong!Thanks.

Re: work


'work' is the correct answer. Click 'check answers' to see all.




Sorry, I cannot see why it is wrong. What do you mean?

Nice review

Nice review. Thank you.


Applause Applause Applause

present simple

trying harder

I really like these lessons.

I really like these lessons. They are very usuful and they are fun as well.

'shopping' OR 'for shopping'

Often: 'Her sister often comes shopping with us.'

Is it wrong to say 'Her sister often comes for shopping with us.'

simple present tense vs. simple past tense

hi chris,

i'm new here.  i hope you don't mind if i ask some silly questions.  after the lesson of "What's your favourite book?", i felt confused of using simple present tense and simple past tense after reading the lesson.

below sentences are i quoted from the "What's your favourite book?" lesson.

1. "This is the most recent book I've read, so it's fresh in my mind."  vs "This was my favourite childhood book! It was written in 1939, ....

the question is why present tense (this is the most recent...) is applied for the sentence above.  can i use past tense (this was the most recent...) instead?  As i am thinking the book was already finished.

2. "I don't know why I fell in love with this book, but for years I recommended it to all my friends, and still do."

can i use "fall"?  if using "fell" that would make me think the author may not fall in love with this book now, however, the author shows she is still loving this book in the following sentence.

thanks for your help in advance.


RE: Past v Present

Question 1

Good question and you are right that both forms could be used, however Caroline uses is for the most recent because 'now' it is the last book she's read. When we want highlight that a long time has passed since we read a book, we can use was. This is a very subtle nuance in the information we are giving to the listener. By using is we are very much showing that her relationship with the book is very fresh. Caroline is giving the book more importance by bringing it into the present.

"This was my favourite childhood book", tells us that when she was a child, this was her favourite book. It could be she has a new favourite now!

Question 2

"I don't know why I fell in love", tells us that the love started in the past but does not give an indication of how she feels now.  The secound clause in the sentence is needed to show that she is still inlove with it: "but for years."

Let's take another example sentence:

"I don't know why I fell in love with him, I hate him now!"

Again we can see that the love started in the past, but without the second clause we don't know the speaker's present state.

Fall is not a permenant state, but love is. First I fall in love with you (temporary) and then I love you (permanent fixed state).

So if you say "I don't know why I fall in love with him", it suggests there is a pattern stop/start love i.e. "I love him" followed by "I don't love him" then "I love him" and so on.

For a fixed state just use love, "I don't know why I love this book."

Hope I haven't confused you even more!





Thanks fot this atricle


Hi Chris,

I'm not sure if i understand this sentence:
"You can’t borrow my lawnmower because it doesn’t work"
but i answered "works".

Does it means that verbs following negation doesn't end with "s"?


RE: Negation

That's right. We say, "She doesn't like studying", not "she doesn't likes studying".

Thank you very much Chris~

Thank you very much Chris~

Present and continuous

I like this lesson . Thanks

Present and continuous

I like this lesson . Thanks

Present and continuous

I like this lesson . Thanks

About the lesson

I would like to thank you about dis lesson. It is indeed educative. I got it all right.

Hi friends

This is lession very useful to me.

k suresh kumar

am happy to be in

How is it going in leaning.

Use of "with"


can anyone help?

St1: I am meeting with my friends.
St2: I am meeting my friends.

Which one in correct and why?

Please help.

Thanks in advance!

I am meeting my friends.

"I am meeting with my friends." - the verb 'meeting' means you are not alone and so 'with' is not needed.

However, when 'meeting' is used as a noun i.e. 'a business meeting', we can use 'with': "I have a meeting with my friends."

I hope that helps.


Use of with

Hi Chris,

Thanks for the response!

"I am going to market with my friends." - In this sentence, I am also not alone.
Is this sentence correct or wrong?

Please advise?