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Talking about the present

Level: intermediate

We use the present simple to talk about:

  • something that is true in the present:

They live next door to us.
He works for the Post Office.

  • something that happens regularly in the present:

The children come home from school at about four.
We often see your brother at work.

  • something that is always true:

Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius.
The Nile is the longest river in Africa.

We use the present continuous to talk about:

  • something happening at the moment of speaking:

I can't hear you. I'm listening to a podcast.
Please be quiet. The children are sleeping.

  • something happening regularly in the present before and after a specific time:

I'm usually having breakfast at this time in the morning.
When I see George he's usually reading his Kindle.

  • something in the present which we think is temporary:

Michael is at university. He's studying history.
I love Harry Potter. I'm reading the last book.

  • something which is new and contrasts with a previous state:

Nowadays people are sending text messages instead of phoning.
I hear you've moved house. Where are you living now?

  • something which is changing, growing or developing:

The weather is getting colder.
Our grandchildren are growing up quickly.

  • something which happens again and again:

It's always raining in London.
They are always arguing.
George is great. He's always laughing.

Note that we normally use always with this use.

We use modal verbs:

I don't know where Henry is. He might be playing tennis.
'Who's knocking at the door?' – 'I don't know. It could be the police.'

I can speak English quite well but I can't speak French at all.
You should do your homework before you go out. 

Present simple and present continuous 1


Present simple and present continuous 2


Present simple and present continuous 3



Hi ,i am a new member of this site and i want to learn english completly in quickly so what do i do ?

Who’s knocking "a" the door? I don’t know. It could be the police
last sentense is wrong i guess

Why should it be wrong?
I think it's quite correct. We could also say: "It may/might be the police" (different levels of certainty).

Well spotted! 

Thanks Saurpan.


The LearnEnglish Team

hi  good morning every one  
I'm  new member ship here . I need to improve my English  . So please help me 

Can you help to speak english with out grammatical errors and fluently:)
If I want to speak some one mean I want to convey my message in a clear manner.!
Please help me to impove these two things!

can you explain about modal verb?

 Thank you so much for your help. But i still have some obstacle to understand all the lessons.that why if you don't mind I'm going to ask you time by time some questions;
Today my question is; what do you mean, when you say; before and after a given time.
thank you so much.

Hi Fatima,
In the section you are talking about, it means that you need to state the time related to the action and that the action has to be happening before and after that time. Does that make sense?
Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team