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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



Hello SK,

Yes, they mean the same thing in general. The only possible contradiction to this that I can think of would be, for example, that your wife works as a salewoman who spends most of her day out of the office with her clients. If that were the case, the second sentence would mean she's using your home as her office for the day but that she's actually spending most of her time out of the house. In that case, the first sentence wouldn't be completely accurate, as it implies her work is done inside the house.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

I can read and write English but can't speak please help how to I improve?Thanks

Hello mehtab72,

We have advice on improving speaking on our Help pages - you can find that advice here.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

This convenience store often get ninety cents discount for every one hundred dollar at Tuesday.
We can often getting ninety cents discount for every one hundred dollar at Tuesday in this convenience store.
this two sencences is correct?

Hello Ice,

I'm afraid we can't offer a service checking sentences for our users - if we tried to do this then we would have no time for anything else! Our role here is to help with the material on our pages, not to correct or check sentences when needed.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Can we say "I am totally agree."?
Is this example wrong?

Hello Metin,

No, that is not correct. 'Agree' is a regular verb and it does not have 'be' before it. You can say either of these:

I totally agree (with you).

I am in total agreement (with you).


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

what is the meaning of off here?
maybe Sam is off somewhere sulking

What is the difference between the following two sentences-
I don't get your mail on my email.
I am not getting your mail on my email.

Hello neh7272,

The first sentence tells us about a permanent state; the second about a temporary state. You would use the second to talk about a problem which you hope will be solved, and the first if, for example, the mail is blocked and will remain so.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team