The Present Simple is used for:
- regular actions or events: He plays tennis most weekends.
- facts: The sun rises in the east.
- facts known about the future: We leave at 8.30 next Monday
- thoughts and feelings about the time of speaking: I don’t feel very well.
The Present Continuous is used for:
- the time of speaking (‘now’): Shh, I’m trying to hear what they are saying .
- things which are true at the moment but not always: We’re looking for a new flat.
- present plans for the future: We’re having dinner with them next week .
Look at these examples :
- I don’t usually have cereals for breakfast but I’m having some this morning because there is nothing else.
- I often cycle to work but I’m taking the car this morning because it’s raining very hard.
- I’m thinking about having my hair cut short but I don’t think my husband will be very happy about it.
- My parents live in Washington but I’m just visiting.
Note how, in all these examples, we use the present continuous to talk about events which are temporary/limited in time and the present simple to talk about events which are habits/permanent.