Present simple vs. Present continuous


Navigating the complex world of English grammar can be an uphill struggle. But by following this blog, you will be able to understand the rules and uses of many of the key grammatical elements of English. This week we will be tackling the uses of the present simple and present continuous 

Present Simple. 

When it comes to learning English grammar, the present simple is normally the first stop for most learners. It is the most commonly used verb tense in English so it is essential to understand how and when to correctly use it. 

We form the present simple like this:

Regular verbs (Eat- comer)

Subject Affirmative Negative Interrogative
I yoEat Don’t eat Do I eat…?
You Eat Don’t eat Do you eat…?
He/She/It él/ella/lo/laEats Doesn’t eatDoes he/she/it eat…?
We Nosotros/asEat Don’t eat Do we eat…?
They ellos/asEat Don’t eatDo they eat…?

Irregular verbs (to be- ser/estar)

Subject Affirmative Negative Interrogative 
I yoamAm notAm I…?
You areAre not (aren’t)Are you…?
He/She/It él/ella/lo/laisIs not (isn’t)Is he/she/it…?
We Nosotros/asareAre not (aren’t)Are we…?
They Ellos/asareAre not (aren’t)Are they..?


We use the present simple to talk about: 

  • Our routines and habits:

“We always go to school by bus.” “Siempre vamos al colegio en autobús.”

  • Things that are generally true or permanent states at the present time:

“My Brother lives in London.” “Mi hermano vive en Londres.”

  • Stating facts or opinions: 

“It is sunny today.” “Hace sol hoy.” 

“I like football.” “Me gusta el fútbol.”

  • Talking about scheduled events: 

“The train leaves at 8:30.” “El tren sale a las 8.30.”

Present continuous

As well as the present simple, the present continuous is another form of communicating in the present. It is formed like this:

Subject Affirmative Negative Interrogative 
I yoI am going I am not going Am I going?
You You are going You are not going Are you going?
He/She/It él/ella/lo/laHe/She/It is going He/She/It is not going Is he/she/it going?
We nosotros We are going We are not goingAre we going?
They ellosThey are going They are not goingAre they going?

We use the present continuous to talk about: 

  • Things that are happening now: 

“We are studying English at the moment.” “Estamos estudiando inglés de momento.”

  • Future plans or intentions: 

“I’m eating pizza for dinner tonight.” “Estoy cenando pizza esta noche.”

  • Expressing annoyance about something: 

“You are always interrupting me!” “Siempre me estás interrumpiendo.” 

  • Expressing temporary situations:

“I’m staying with a friend until I can find an apartment.” “Me quedo con un amigo hasta que pueda encontrar un apartamento.”

Now that you’ve read the rules of using both tenses, now let’s do some practice to reinforce your understanding! 

Complete the sentences using either the present simple or continuous:

  1.  I ___ (read) a new book every month.
  2. She ___ (study) for her final exams this week.
  3. They ___ (eat) dinner at 7 o’clock every evening.
  4. He ___ (write) a novel these days.
  5. I ___ (listen)to music right now.
  6. We ___ (exercise)at the gym on Mondays and Wednesdays.
  7. They ___ (watch) a movie at the cinema tonight.
  8. The bus ___(leave) at 11:00. 
  9. I___ (meet) my friends this weekend.
  10. We___ (work) in the garden at the moment.

Correct the mistakes in these sentences: 

  1. I am going to school every day. 
  2. We study for our English exam right now. 
  3. He always play video games. 
  4. I do my homework this weekend. 
  5. It are cold today. 

Download this blog post as a PDF worksheet
Check you answers here