Present Simple and Present Continuous Contrasted

Differences and similarities in the Present Simple and the Present Continuous?

1. Use

Present SimplePresent Continuous
  • repeated actions
  • fixed arrangements, scheduled events (e.g. timetable)
  • sequence of actions in the present (first – then, after that)
  • instructions
  • things in general
  • after special verbs
  • actions happening at the moment of speaking or around the moment of speaking
  • fixed plan in the near future
  • temporary actions and trends
  • repeated actions which are irritating to the speaker (with always, constantly, forever)

2. Signal words

Present SimplePresent Continuous
  • always
  • usually
  • every day
  • every week
  • every year
  • never
  • often
  • on Sundays
  • rarely
  • seldom
  • sometimes
  • at the moment
  • Listen!
  • Look!
  • now

3. Form

Present SimplePresent Continuous
infinitive → 3rd person singular (he, she, it)infinitive + sto be (am, areis) + infinitive + ing

4. Examples

4.1. Affirmative sentences

Present SimplePresent Continuous
like playing tennis.
You like tennis.You are playing tennis.
He likes tennis.He is playing tennis.

4.2. Negative sentences

Present SimplePresent Continuous
do not like not playing tennis.
You do not like tennis.You are not playing tennis.
He does not like tennis.He is not playing tennis.

4.3. Questions

Present SimplePresent Continuous
Do I like tennis?Am I playing tennis?
Do you like tennis?Are you playing tennis?
Does he like tennis?Is he playing tennis?

5. Spelling

Present SimplePresent Continuous
  • searches (-es after sibilant)
  • does (-es after -o)
  • hurries (Change -y to -ie after consonant)
  • hitting (Double the consonant after a short vowel.)
  • making (Drop the -e.)
  • dying (Change -ie to -y.)