Choose the correct present simple or present continuous forms for the gaps below.
Present simple – form
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.
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.
- She’s 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
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 washing my teeth.
- I finished the Lord of the Rings and now I’m reading a new book.
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.
- He’s studying a lot this week.
- I’m not feeling very well these days.
Non–action 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