Grammar » A2 Grammar lessons and exercises » Present simple vs present continuous
Exercises Explanation Downloads
  • Present simple vs present continuous

    Exercise 1

    Choose the correct forms of present simple or present continuous for the gaps below.

    Conversation 1

    Luke: What 1 ?

    Sarah: I am watching TV.

    Luke: 2 TV in the afternoon?

    Sarah: Yes, I do.

    Luke: What kind of programs 3 ?

    Sarah: I 4 talk shows. But now I 5 a sports show.

    Conversation 2

    Peter: What 6 ?

    Rebecca: He 7 an architect but he 8 at the moment. He 9 for a job desperately, because he 10 money for the house.

    Conversation 3

    Sandra: Can I have that magazine or 11 it?

    Tim: No, I 12 it. I 13 that magazine. I 14 sports magazines.

    Sandra: I 15 sports magazines.


  • Present simple – Form

    Grammar infographic showing the structure of the Present Simple tense in English, including positive forms, negative forms, questions, and short answers for A1 elementary learners.

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    The spelling of he/she/it

    The spelling of he/she/it is different in the present simple. Check how it changes below. The spelling is the same for all the other persons.

    Grammar chart demonstrating Present Simple tense spelling rules for third-person singular subjects (he, she, it) with examples of verb conjugations and common mistakes.

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    Present simple – Use

    Habits or situations that happen regularly

    We use the present simple for actions that we do (or we don’t do) regularly:

    • I wash my hair every day.
    • I never go to the library.
    • I sometimes go to the library.

    Permanent situations or things that are usually or often true

    • I don’t drink coffee.
    • Shes very tall.
    • I have two brothers.
    • Water boils at 100 degrees.
    • I like soup.

    Adverbs of frequency

    We often use the present simple with adverbs of frequency (always, sometimes, etc.) and expressions of frequency (once every three months, twice a week, every other day, etc.).

    Adverbs of frequency go in mid position (before the main verb or after be).

    • She doesn’t often eat hamburgers.
    • He usually gets up very early.
    • I am never late.

    Expressions of frequency go at the end of the sentence

    • We go to the cinema once a month.
    • I buy clothes twice a year.


    Present continuous – Form and spelling

    Grammar chart showing the form of the Present Continuous tense in positive, negative, and question forms, including short answers and spelling rules for -ing words.

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    Present continuous – Use

    Actions in progress

    We use the present continuous to talk about things that are happening now or ‘around now’ (a time around this moment, such as these days, weeks or months)

    • I can’t talk now. I’m brushing my teeth.
    • I finished the Lord of the Rings and now Im reading a new book.

    Temporary actions

    The present continuous is used for temporary actions:

    • I’m going to work by bus this week because my car is at the garage. 
    • I’m living with my cousins temporarily.

    With expressions meaning ‘now’ or ‘around now’.

    The present continuous often appears next to expressions such as now, these days, this week/month, or at the moment.

    • Hes studying a lot this week. 
    • I’m not feeling very well these days. 


    Stative verbs

    Nonaction verbs (or stative verbs) cannot be used in the present continuous. They must be used in the present simple. The most frequent are the verbs of the senses (hear, see, smell, etc. ), verbs of opinion (believe, consider, like, love, hate, prefer, think, etc.), and other verbs like be, have, need, want, etc.

    • Please, give me my money; I need it now.
    • Look at her; she seems sad.

    Present simple vs present continuous

    Educational grammar chart comparing Present Simple and Present Continuous tenses, highlighting their uses, with signal words and examples of each.

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