Differences between Present Simple and Present Continuous

Learn the difference between Present Simple and Present Continuous tense with examples and useful grammar rules.

Present Simple and Present Continuous

Differences in Usage

  • The present simple tense is used to express general truths, while the present continuous tense describes actions happening now.

Examples:

It rarely rains in the desert. (present simple) 

You play chess with 32 pieces. (present simple)

She is reading a newspaper upstairs. (present continuous)

I’m busy, I’m doing my homework. (present continuous)

  • The present simple tense is used to indicate present habits, while the present continuous tense is used to express annoying habits (+ always).

Examples:

The birds return to the island every morning. (present simple) 

Marsha goes to dance club every Thursday. (present simple) 

You’re always forgetting to pay the bills. (present continuous)

He’s always singing in the shower. (present continuous)

  • The present simple tense expresses timetable events; the present continuous tense is used to describe future arrangements.

Examples:           

The plane to London takes off at 6:30 a.m. (present simple) 

The Drama club meets every other week at 7:30 p.m. (present simple) 

She’s getting married on 3 November. (present continuous)

We’re leaving at 3 this afternoon. (present continuous)

  • The present simple tense is used to indicate permanent states; In contrast, the present continuous tense is used to express temporary states.

Examples:

He works at a hotel. (present simple) 

I like the new James Bond film. (present simple) 

She’s working at the museum until the end of this month. (present continuous)

Time Phrases in Present Simple Tense

Always/usually/often/sometimes/rarely/never

Every week/Monday/month/year…

Once/twice/three times a week…

Time Phrases in Present Continuous Tense

Now

Right now

At the moment

Today

This week/month/year

Differences between Present Simple and Present Continuous | Picture

Differences between Present Simple and Present Continuous

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