"Talking about the Present" in the English Grammar

Talking about the Present

When you talk, the verbs should agree with the orders of events. That's why We will learn how and when to use the present tense in this lesson.

"Talking about the Present" in the English Grammar

In this lesson, we will discuss various topics in English that are expressed in the present tense.
We use this tense to talk about:

1. Things that are happening now

If we want to talk about a situation or an action that is ongoing at the moment of speaking, we use the present continous. For example:

I'm listening to Eminem's latest album.

Be quiet! The baby is sleeping.

To describe something that is happening at the exact moment of speaking, we can also use the present simple tense. Note that this meaning of the simple present often is used in sports commentaries. Look at the examples:

He shoots! He scores!

2. Ongoing things but not necessarily right now

Things that are ongoing for the present time, but not necessarily right at the moment of speaking are expressed by the present continuous tense. Check out these examples:

I'm reading a book by John Green.

I am watching the Star Wars trilogy back to back.

Something Temporary (with beginning and end)

When we want to talk about something that we consider to be temporary (something that has a beginning and an end), we can use the present continuous tense. Check out the example:

Sam is studying law at Harvard University.

We can also say 'Sam studies law at Harvard University'. The difference is that the present continuous tense focuses on the process, while the present simple focuses on the state of things.

3. Thing that are always true

If we want to talk about something that is always true such as scientific facts, we use the present simple tense. By 'facts' we mean situations that are unchanging or permanent. They will never change. For example:

The Earth orbits around the Sun.

Carnivores eat meat only.

4. Things That Are True at The Moment

If you want to talk about a situation or action that is generally true in the present (at the moment of speaking or writing), you use the present simple tense. Look at the examples:

I live on 22nd Street. (true in the present)

Ben has a twin brother.


The simple present is used to talk about our jobs and what we do for a living. For example:

'What does Sara do?' 'She works at a real state agency.'

'What do you do?' 'I am a teacher.'

Likes and Dislikes

To talk about what you like and dislike you can use the present simple tense. Commonly we use this pattern: like/don't like something or like/don't like doing something. However, there many more verbs used for expressing likes and dislikes. Check out the examples:

Christine likes to play with her dollhouse.

Lucas doesn't like swimming in outdoor pools.

State of Being

The present tense is a verb tense used to describe a state of being. This is used usually with the verb be or other linking verbs such as feel, seem, appear, etc.

I am 12 years old.

She feels happy.

Using Present Continuous to Talk about Ongoing Actions

5. Things that always happen in the present

To talk about something that happens regularly in the present, we use the present simple tense. We use adverbs of frequency (like always, sometimes, never, every, normally, often) or adverbial phrases that show the frequency of an action. For example:

I go to the gym every day.

The meeting happens every Thursday at 10 o'clock.

Habits and routine activities

The simple present tense is used to talk about our habits and routine activities. Check out these example:

I drink tea in the morning.

6. Things that temporarily happen from time to time

To talk about something that happens regularly in the present before and after a specific time we use the present continuous tense. Here are the examples:

I'm usually taking a nap at this time in the afternoon.

Every time I run into Jack he is either going to or coming back from the gym.

Hobbies and interests

If we want to talk about hobbies and interests, we can use the present simple tense. For example:

I relax by listening to music.

In my free time I go fishing.

7. Something New Different from the Former Situation

If you want to talk about a new situation that recently happened and is different from the former situation, you can use the present continuous tense. Check out the examples:

Nowadays people are eating more vegetarian food instead of consuming meat.

Kim told me you quit your job. What are you doing for a living now?

8. Something Changing

In order to describe something that is changing or developing or growing, you can use the present continuous tense. Look at the examples:

The days are getting longer.

Look at our son, Bobby. He is growing up really quickly.

9. Ongoing Situation (usually annoying)

If a situation or action is happening time after time we use the present continuous to describe it. Pay attention that normally the adverb always is used with this use. For example:

It's always raining in London.

You are always ordering the same thing! Aren't you tired?

Verbs Only Used in Present Simple

Verbs that are related to emotional states or perceptions are most commonly used in the present simple. Examples of these verbs are sound, believe, feel, hate, hear, love, prefer, see, seem, want, like, mean, agree, realize. Here are the examples:

I believe this is a terrible idea.

We don't understand these rules.

Another group of verbs that are only used in the present simple refers to verbs that show possession, such as own, possess, consist of, depend, belong, have. For example:

This car belongs to my mother.

The menu consists of several different Chinese dishes.


Learning the most basic tense in English grammar helps us learn other concepts even more fluently. Here in this article, present simple tense and present progressive tense were introduced.
Let us take a look at their functions and differences through the table:

Present Simple Present Progressive
Happening now
Changing events
Always true or true at the moment
Likes and dislikes
Habits, hobbies, interests

Note that there are some verbs that cannot be used in continuous form because of their grammatical rules. They are called stative verbs.


You might also like

Future Perfect Continuous

This is one of the most advanced tenses in the English language. So, congratulation for reaching this level. Let's start to learn this tense.

Future with 'Going to'

Anything after now is the future, and in English, we have many ways and tenses to talk about the future. Some are more basic and some are more advanced.

Past with 'Going to'

There are times that we are narrating a story and we want to talk about past plans that did not happen. In this case, we use past with going to.

Talking about the Past

What if we want to narrate something that happened in the past? In this case, we will need to know the past tense.

Talking about the Future

Sometimes we need to talk about our plans, wishes, & arrangements that have not happened yet and are related to the future.