Simple Present Vs Present Continuous - Intro + exercises
'I play / I am playing.'
What's the difference between the Present Simple / Present Continuous and how to use them.
We use the present simple tense when we want to talk about fixed habits or routines – things that don’t change.
We use the present continuous to talk about actions which are happening at the present moment, but will soon finish.
Compare these two statements:
(present simple) I play tennis.
(present continuous/ progressive) I am playing tennis.
(present simple) ‘I play tennis’ tells us that playing tennis is something the speaker always does. It is part of a routine or habit. We can call this a permanent situation.
(present continuous/ progressive) ‘I am playing tennis’ tells us that the speaker is playing tennis right now. Soon the game will be over. We call this a temporary situation.
With the present simple we say:
I play tennis
You play tennis
We play tennis
They play tennis
He/she/ it plays tennis.
With the present continuous we say:
I am playing tennis
You are playing tennis
We are playing tennis
He/she/it is playing tennis
Frequency Adverbs we use with the Present Simple
With the present simple we use these frequency adverbs:
(Notice that the adverb comes before the main verb in the sentence.)
Always: ‘I always read before I go to bed.’
Often: ‘Her sister often comes shopping with us.’
Frequently: ‘Michael frequently visits his family.’
Sometimes: ‘You sometimes go to the gym, don’t you?’
Occasionally: ‘It occasionally rains in summer.’
Seldom: ‘They seldom ask for help.’
Rarely: ‘He rarely goes out without his backpack.’
Hardly ever: ‘I hardly ever eat pizza.’
Never: ‘Japanese people never wear shoes inside.’
Time Expressions we use with the Present Continuous
With the present continuous we use these time expressions:
(Notice that the time expression can come at the start or at the end of the sentence.)
At the moment: ‘I’m watching TV, at the moment.’
These days: ‘Paul’s living in Cardiff, these days.’
Now: ‘What are you doing, now?’
Nowadays: ‘I think you are smoking too much, nowadays.’
Complete these sentences below using either the present simple or present continuous.
(Play) I ____________________ golf every weekend.
(Play) The children ____________________ outside at the moment.
(Work) Haruka ____________________ today.
(Work) You can’t borrow my lawnmower because it doesn’t _____________
(Make) Smells good! What are you ____________________ ?
(Make) My husband never ____________________ me breakfast.
(Live) Pauline is ____________________ in Hong Kong.
(Live)Do you still ____________________ with your parents?
Andy sometimes ____________________ comics. (to read)
We never ____________________ TV in the morning. (to watch)
Listen! Sandy ____________________ the bathroom. (to sing)
My sister usually ____________________ in the kitchen. (to help)
My mother ____________________ breakfast now. (to make)
They often ____________________ the bathroom. (to clean)
Look! The boys ____________________ home. (to come)
Every day his grandfather ____________________ for a walk. (to go)
I ____________________ with my friend at the moment. (to chat)
Cats ____________________ mice. (to eat)
Fill in the gaps
John ___________________ football at the moment.
We often ___________________ tests at our school.
I ___________________ to my teacher now.
Mandy and Susan ___________________ a film on TV.
Olivia her uncle ___________________ every weekend.
They sometimes ___________________ poems.
First I ___________________ , then I dress.
Every morning my mother___________________ up at 6 o'clock.
Put the verbs into the correct tense (simple present or present progressive).
Look! He (leave) ___________________ the house.
Quiet please! I (write) ___________________ a test.
She usually (walk) ___________________ to school.
But look! Today she (go) ___________________ by bike.
Every Sunday we (go) ___________________ to see my grandparents.
He often (go) ___________________ to the cinema.
We (play) ___________________ Monopoly at the moment.
The child seldom (cry) ___________________ .
I (not / do) ___________________ anything at the moment.
(watch / he) ___________________ the news regularly?
Look at the picture on the right and complete the sentences (Simple Present or Present Progressive).
Joe and Dennis (be) ___________________ best friends.
They often (meet) ___________________ in the afternoon.
What (do / they) ___________________ at the moment?
They (play) ___________________ football.
They (love) ___________________ football.
___________________ with his father every weekend, but
Dennis (not / play) ___________________ football very often.
Complete the story. Use Simple Present and Present Progressive.
It (be) ___________________ early in the morning.
___________________ of bed, (open) ___________________ the
window and (go) ___________________ into the bathroom.
Then she (have) ___________________ breakfast.
After breakfast, Sally usually (cycle) ___________________ to school.
After school, she (go) ___________________ back home.
Sally usually (eat) ___________________ her lunch at home.
In the afternoons, she first (do)
___________________ her homework and
then she (meet) ___________________ her friends in the park.
What (do / she) ___________________ now?
She (play) ___________________ the guitar.
Her friends (listen) ___________________ and some of them (sing) ___________________ along.
When Sally (come) ___________________ home in the evening, she (have)
dinner and then she (watch) ___________________ TV.
She (go) ___________________ to bed at about 8 o'clock every day.
Complete the sentences. Use Simple Present and Present Progressive.
I (be) ___________________ very busy today.
At noon I (visit) ___________________ my friend Tanya.
We (want) ___________________ to have lunch together.
In the afternoon I (play) ___________________ with Emily.
In the evening, I (meet) ___________________ Rob.
We (go) ___________________ to the cinema.
The film (start) ___________________ at 8 pm.
Complete the sentences. Use Simple Present and Present Progressive.
Look! Jenny (go) ___________________ to school.
She (wear) ___________________ a raincoat and wellies and she (carry)
Jenny usually (cycle) ___________________ to school, but today she (take)
the bus because it (rain).
The bus (leave) ___________________ at 7.35 and (arrive)
at Jenny's school at 7.45. ___________________ The first lesson (begin)
at 8 o'clock.
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