1. We use the present simple:

  • to talk about something happening regularly in the present:

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

  •  to talk about something happening continually in the present:

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

  •  to talk about things which are generally true:

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

2. We use the present continuous:

  • to show that something in the present is temporary:

We are living in a rented flat at present.
My wife usually goes in to the office, but she is working at home today.

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

I’m usually getting ready for work at eight o’clock.
When I see George he’s always reading his newspaper.

  • for something happening before and after the moment of speaking:

I can’t hear you. I’m listening to my iPod.
Be quiet. The children are sleeping.

3. We use modal verbs

  • to talk about the present when we are not sure of something:

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.

 

 

Exercise

Comments

"all we can do is watch and wait".... why is there not infinitive form(to watch)or ing form(watching) in this example?

Hi manuel24,

It's possible to use 'to' ('All we can do is to watch ...') but it's much more common not to use 'to' here. As far as I know, this is just due to usage, i.e. this is just how people speak. This is a kind of cleft sentence -- perhaps reading a bit more about how these work would be interesting for you. 

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks a lot Peter. Nice explanation . Have a good time.

Hi Kirk and Peter,
Most of the times in movies I find dialogues like
1.Miguel! I give you my blessings.
2.(on the stage to the audience) Now, I give you Mr Bunny the talking rabbit.
Why simple present tense is uesd here not continuous. I don't understand the grammar here. Please explain it.

Hello jitu_jaga,

To answer this, first it is helpful ot be clear on the concepts behind simple and continuous forms.

We use continuous forms when an action is in progress. In other words, if I say 'I am standing' then the standing began a moment before and has not yet finished; I am in the middle of it. We use simple forms when the action either is or is perceived to be a single event - one thing rather than an ongoing process.

 

Most verbs have some kind of process and so can have continuous aspect. Certain verbs, however, cannot. Verbs conveying feelings and emotions such as love, like, hate and so on generally do not have continuous forms, for example.

The is another group of verbs which are not used in continuous forms. These are verbs which declare an action. In other words, the action is done by speaking. For example, the verb 'promise' is very rarely used with continuous aspect because the way we make a promise is by saying 'I promise'. In other words, the act of promising starts when we begin speaking and ends when we finish speaking. There is no process and no action which began before and continues. This is the reason that in a traditional wedding the two people getting married say 'I do' not 'I am doing', and why in a court a witness says 'I swear to tell the truth' not 'I am swearing to tell the truth'.

 

In your first example, the phrase 'I give you my blessings' is another instance of this. How does the speaker give his or her blessings? By saying the words.

Your second example is similar. The phrase 'I give you' means 'I present to you' and, again, the speaker does this by saying the words.

 

I hope that helps to clarify it for you.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you for your fast answer. I've got another question.
Can we start a sentence with this expression ' in the morning/evening'?
Eg. In the evening, I do my homework at 6 o'clock and read a book at 8.
Thank you.

Hi Marua,

Yes, that is perfectly correct.

You're welcome!

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello.
I've got 1 question about linking words used in the present. Is it appropriate to use 'after this/that' when it comes to daily routines?
'I get up at 8 o'clock and have breakfast. After this/after that I go to school...'
I know that 'then' works better here, but what about 'after this/ that'?
Thanks.

Hi Marua,

Yes, that's fine, I'd say, though, as you say, 'then' is more common. 'after that' is better than 'after this' -- we usually use 'that' when speaking about something's that's just finished.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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