Simple present and present continuous

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Present Simple or Present Continuous?
The simple present tense is often confused with the present continuous tense. This page will explain when to use each one.
1. The simple present tenseThe simple present tense is used for two main types of action:
Habits | Actions which happen regularly (for example, every day or every week) |
States | Things which do not often change (for example,opinions and conditions) |
Some examples will help to make this clearer:
Type of action | Examples | Explanations |
Habit | Young-Mi goes to class every day. | “Every day” is a habit. |
| It rains a lot in Vancouver. | This means that it rains often. |
| Santos always talks about his family. | “Always” means this is a habit. |
| Jerry spends Christmas with his parents. | This implies thathe spends Christmas with his parents every year. |
State | Bianca lives in Florida. | This is a state, because it doesn't change. |
| Jean-Paul has red hair. | Someone's hair colour doesn't usually change. |
| Martin likes chocolate. | When we like something, usually we will always like it. |
| Anna believes in God. | Beliefs and opinions are states. They don't often change. |
2. Thepresent continuous tenseThe present continuous tense is used for two main types of action:
A temporary action happening now | Something which is going on right now (but it will stop in the future) |
A definite plan for the future | Something we intend to do, usually in the near future |
Here are some examples:
Type of action | Examples | Explanations |
Temporary action happening right now| John is winning the game. | Right now, John is winning, but the game isn't finished yet. |
| It's raining outside. | It's raining right now (but it may stop soon). |
| Soraya's working in the library. | She's working there right now. |
| Sihol is spending Christmas with his family. | He's spending Christmas with his family right now, this year. (Maybe next year he won't.) |
Definiteplan for the future | I'm playing soccer tomorrow. | This plan is already arranged and definite. |
| Sarah's leaving for San Francisco on Friday. | She has probably already bought her ticket. |
| The Olympics are taking place here next year. | This is already certain. |
| I'm having a party next week. | All the plans have been made. |

Simple Present | Present Progressive |infinitive
(3rd person singular: infinitive + 's')I speak
you speak
he / she / it speaks
we speak
they speak | form of 'be' and verb + ing
 I am speaking
you are speaking
he / she / it is speaking
we are speaking
they are speaking |
Exceptions |
Exceptions when adding 's' : * For can, may, might, must, do not add s.Example: he can, she may, it must * After o, ch, sh or s,add es.Example: do - he does, wash - she washes * After a consonant, the final consonant y becomes ie. (but: not after a vowel)Example: worry - he worries
but: play - he plays | Exceptions when adding 'ing' : * Silent e is dropped. (but: does not apply for -ee)Example: come - coming
but: agree - agreeing * After a short, stressed vowel, the final consonant is doubled.Example: sit - sitting * Aftera vowel, the final consonant l is doubled in British English (but not in American English).Example: travel - travelling (British English)
but: travelling (American English) * Final ie becomes y.Example: lie - lying |

In general or right now?Do you want to express that something happens in general or that something is happening right now?
Simple Present | Present Progressive |
ingeneral (regularly, often, never)Colin plays football every Tuesday.present actions happening one after anotherFirst Colin plays football, then he watches TV. | right nowLook! Colin is playing football now.also for several actions happening at the same timeColin is playing football and Anne is watching. |
Signal words |
* always * every ... * often * normally * usually * sometimes...
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