Present simple vs present continuous in English
Difference between present simple and present continuous
The present simple and the present continuous are both used to describe actions taking place in the present time, but the tenses are used for different moments in the present.
- The present simple is used when talking about fixed habits or routines, something that does not change.
- The present continuous is used to talk about actions which are happening right now, but will finish soon.
Usage of the present simple tense
The present simple is mostly used to refer to habits and routines in the present. The table below shows you all the situations in which the English present simple tense is used.
|You want to describe habits and routines.||
|You want to describe a general or scientific fact.||
|You want to describe an action that takes place, never takes place or is repeated constantly.||
|You want to describe an event that is probably happening in the future.||
|You want to refer to a past event. (In newspaper headlines and captions to photographs.)||
|You want to give instructions or indications||
Signal words present simple
How to recognize the usage of the present simple tense? You can recognize the use of the present simple tense when the sentence contains words as:
- On Mondays, Tuesdays etc.
- Every Monday, Tuesday etc.
- Twice a week
- Once a month
- In general
- Every other day
Usage of the present continuous in English
The table below shows the situations in which the present continuous is used.
|You want to describe an action or event that takes place at that exact moment.||
|You want to describe an action or event that is happening now, but not necessarily during the conversation.||
|You want to describe an action or event that is already scheduled, but is not happening right now.||
|You want to describe a temporary event or a temporary situation.||
|You want to describe and emphasize a continuous series of repeated actions. Often combined with words as 'always, forever, constantly.'||
Signal words present continuous
How to recognize the usage of the present continuous? You can recognize the use of the present continuous tense when the sentence contains words as:
- Right now
- Just now
- At the moment
- In the morning
- In the afternoon
- Next Monday, Tuesday etc.
Test your knowledge of the difference between the present simple and the present continuous by doing the exercises below!
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