Present Simple vs. Present Continuous

There are similarities and differences between present simple and present continuous, which might cause confusion. For more information, click here!

What Are Their Main Differences?

The main difference between Present simple and present continuous lies within what they are talking about. Present simple tense talks about permanent situations while present continuous talks about temporary situations. They both have their other differences and similarities.

Uses and Comparison

1. Habitual Actions

The 'present simple tense' is mainly used to talk about daily routines. In this context, these actions are routines and tend to happen all the time. The 'present continuous tense' is mainly used to talk about an action happening right now and at the moment of speaking. These actions are temporary and last for a short amount of time. Pay attention that when using 'present simple tense,' we use stative verbs such as 'dislike,' 'seem,' 'know.' However, we cannot use any continuous tense with stative verbs. Have a look:

I wash my face twice.

Here, the speaker is saying how many times they do an action.

I jog every morning.

Here, the speaker states that they job every morning as a routine.

I am jogging.

Here, the speaker states that they are currently doing this action.

You are learning English grammar.

You see what we did here? You are learning English grammar right now.

2. Facts

Let us say that we want to talk about a general fact. 'Present simple tense' talks about facts that are always or generally true. A simple example can be a scientific facts. Scientific facts barely change. Look at the following examples:

Fishes live in the water.

It is a common knowledge that fish live in the water so we are talking about a general scientific fact.

Humans need oxygen to live.

This example also talks about general scientific fact known by all that never changes.

3. New Habits

'Present continuous tense' talks about new habits that have been developed lately. Note that, when we are talking about something happening, we do not necessarily mean 'right now.' Instead, we may mean that the action or event is happening 'around' the time of speaking.

I am reading a new book.

Here, the speaker is trying to talk about an action that they are doing right now.

I am learning a new language.

Here, the speaker is trying to say that in this era of time, they are learning a new language.

Frequency Words

If you pay close attention to the examples we have given above, you may notice that we used time expressions. Some of these words are used commonly in the English language; that is why we call them 'frequency words.' Some of these words are as follows:
always, generally, often, normally, usually, every day, every year, once a day, twice a month
Take a look at the following examples:

I'm always learning something new.

She is constantly crying.

5. Expressing Irritation

'Present continuous tense' is also used commonly in the spoken language to express the feeling of irritation and to complain about something that has been bothering the speaker. The frequency words 'always' and 'constantly,' that we mentioned earlier, are usually used to express frustration.

He is constantly turning up late for class.

In this example, the speaker is complaining about 'he' being late all the time.

Matt and Nina are always arguing about something.

In this example, the speaker is complaining about 'Matt and Nina' arguing endlessly.

Structure

We have talked about these two tenses and looked at several examples. It has been a great time, but there is one more obstacle to tackle before we depart. Structure! Let us dive right in.

1. Present Continuous Tense

Present continuous tense includes two parts. Learning these two parts helps you with creating them. Here is the pattern: 'to be' + the present participle of the main verb (verb + -ing). Now look at the table below:

Subject Verb to be Present Participle
I am crying
You/We/They are learning
He/She/It is talking

2. Present Simple Tense

Lastly we will tackle the 'present simple tense' and its structures:

2.1. Regular Verbs

Regular verbs can be used with the present tense. This case is very easy to create. How? Simply use the basic form of the verb. Yes. It is this easy, but do not get too comfortable as there is an exception. Classic. When making affirmative sentences in the third-person singular, we need to add the third-person 's' to the main verb. Have a look:

I work hard.

She works hard.

We work together.

He works with us.

2.2. Irregular Verbs

You have heard of 'to be' verbs and 'to have' verbs and if you have not, you probably used them unknowingly. 'To be' and 'to have' verbs are very unstable and do not follow a certain pattern. That is why we call them 'irregular verbs.'

Personal Pronoun Verb to be verb to have
I Am have
He/She/It Is has
We/You/They Are have

Comments

  • linkedin
  • linkedin
  • facebook
  • facebook
  • email

You might also like

Whom vs. Whome

You are uncertain about how to write whom? or is it whome? Find out in this lesson. Click here!

Whose vs. Who's

Do you find yourself confused about when to use 'whose' and when to use 'who's?' In this lesson, you will learn about their uses and differences. Click here!

Whom vs. Them

Present Simple vs. Past Simple

There are similarities and differences between past simple and present simple, which might cause confusion. To learn more, click here!

Present Simple vs. Present Perfect

There are similarities and differences between present simple and present perfect, which might cause confusion. To learn more, click here!

Present Continuous vs Present Perfect

There are similarities and differences between present continuous and present perfect, which might cause confusion. To learn more, click here!