Present simple or continuous

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.


Exercise 1

Exercise 2

Exercise 3

Exercise 4

Exercise 5


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