Tense: Present simple vs Present Continuous
1. Present simple
Present simple is used to talk about
2. Present continuous
Permanent situations - situations that are generally or permanently true
Routines and frequency - routines and things we do regularly
Scientific or other facts
Programmes and timetables - in this case present simple can refer to the
There are two flights from Minneapolis to Seattle.
One leaves at 11.15 and arrives at approx. 13.30, and another
one leaves at 17.15 and arrives at 18.40
Present continuous is used to talk about
3. Present simple vs Present continuous
Moment of speaking - activity taking place at the moment of speaking
Current projects - actions or activities and current projects that are
taking place over a period of time (even if they not taking place at the
moment of speaking)
Holiday Travel Company has moved into the health
and leisure business. It is setting up new fitness club in the city
and hopes to expand to other places.
Temporary situation - indicates that actions or activity is temporary
rather than permanent.
Nicola organises our conferences and booklets
(The present simple is used because this permanent responsibility.)
Nicola is away on her vacation, so I am arranging
all relations with publishing company.
Slow changes - current trends and slow changes that are taking place
The latest market statistics show that American
is strengthening, and that the dollar is rising.
When considering use of Present simple or Present continuous use the
A. Routine vs moment of speaking
B. General activity vs current projects
John works for computer magazine. Every month he
writes a computer market review.
Send this information to John. He needs it for a
current review he's writing now.
In 1, we are talking about John's usual responsibility that he does
In 2, we are talking about something he is doing at the moment of speaking.
C. Permanent vs temporary situation
I work for Open University. We provide Internet based
At the moment we are preparing a videoconferencing
course on mathematics.
In 1, we are talking about a general activity.
In 2, we are talking about a specific current project.
D. Facts vs slow changes
Peter deals with enquiries about our book sales.
I am dealing with enquiries about our last published
book while Peter is away on training courses.
E. Stative verbs
As a rule, cheap imports lead to greater competition.
Cheap imports are leading to the closure of a number
of inefficient factories.
There are a number of verbs which describe states rather than actions.
They are not normally used in the continuous form.
|Verbs of thinking
|believe, doubt, guess, imagine, know, realise, suppose, understand
|Verbs of the senses
|hear, smell, sound, taste
|Verbs of possession
|belong to, have (meaning possess), own, possess
|Verbs of emotion
|dislike, hate, like, love, prefer, regret, want, wish
|Verbs of appearance
|contain, depend on, include, involve, mean measure, weigh, figure
I'm sorry, I don't understand what you
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