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Present Simple vs Present Continuous

Study the simple present vs the present continuous. Now that you have learned how to use the simple present and the present continuous it is important to compare and contrast them to learn how they are different. The present continuous is often called the present progressive.

Present Simple

Let’s review the present simple.  As we learned in the last lesson, the present simple describes habits, routines, facts, and generalizations.

  • Present Simple Affirmative Form    

I / You / We / They + V1

He / She / It + V1 + S*

*If a verb ends with a consonant + ‘y’, delete ‘y’ and add ‘ies’: fly > flies , pay > pays

  • Present Simple Negative Form    

I / You / We / They + DO NOT + V1 (DON’T)

He / She / It + DOES NOT +V1 (DOESN’T)

Remember: ‘TO BE’ is different! For the verb to be, use: AM NOT, IS NOT, ARE NOT

Present Simple Uses

1. We can use the present simple to describe a habit or routine.

What do you drink everyday? I drink coffee everyday. I don’t drink soda.

When do you do your homework? I do my homework in the afternoon. She doesn’t do her homework in the afternoon, she does it in the evening.

When does the class begin? The class begins at 11:15. Sarah is always early.

2. We can also use the present simple to talk about facts or generalizations.

What does she like? She likes Pepsi. She doesn’t like Coke.

What kind of cars do people in the United States drive? They drive big cars and SUVs.

Where is Miami? Miami is in Florida. Miami isn’t in California.

Present Continuous

As we have already studied in a previous lesson, the present continuous is used to describe action that is happening at the moment that the speaker is speaking. We can also use the present continuous to describe an action in the near future.

Signal Words

Below are some common signal words that you might hear in association with the present continuous verb tense.    

now, at the moment, today…

this afternoon / tomorrow… and other similar words showing ‘near future’

  • Present Continuous Form   

I + AM

He/She/It + IS + V1 + ING

You/We/They + ARE

Present Continuous Uses

1. To show an action that is happening “now”.

This week we are reading a great book in English class.

She isn’t drinking coffee now.

I am learning English this year.

I am wearing jeans today.

It is raining now.

2. To show an action in the near future.

Tomorrow, we are visiting Key West.

She is going to the beach after class.

I am graduating next year.

We aren’t going out tonight.

Who is teaching the class tomorrow? Jack is teaching tomorrow.

Download this free English lesson with exercises! Follow this link for your free PDF download on simple present vs. present continuous!


A. Answer the questions below.

1. What is your teacher doing right now?

2. What don’t you like doing?

3. What does your friend do?

B. Read the paragraph below. Find the 5 mistakes. Circle the mistakes and write the correct sentence.

My friend Nina lives in Rio. This week she stays with her Mom in Santos. Nina is having a family. This week she doesn’t take care of her family, because her mom is being very sick. Nina is loving her mom a lot, that’s why she left her family in Rio to go to Santos.

1. ______________________________________

2. ______________________________________

3. ______________________________________

4. ______________________________________

5. ______________________________________

C. Write questions to find out about your partner’s friends or family members. Use the Present Simple and Present Simple Continuous in the questions. Ask your partner the questions, discuss, and take notes.

Example: Who is your best friend and where do they live?





D. After you have interviewed a classmate or the teacher with the questions above, write a short paragraph reporting what you learned from them. Use the focus verb tenses as much as possible.

Have fun and keep studying English! Stay posted for our next free English lesson. If you have any questions, just ask!

Make sure to download this free present simple vs present continuous pdf!

Oh, and don’t forget to turn you LANGUAGE ON! #TurnYourLanguageOn