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



Dear Rashed,
There are some programs that try to correct grammar errors, but they aren't perfect in three main ways:

  1. They miss a lot of errors. I tested a few websites (I searched for 'grammar checker') by pasting in a student sentence and they found some, but not all the errors.
  2. They don't understand the meaning. Sometimes the corrections are the right ones, but other times they think that you are trying to say something different from what you really want to say and so give the wrong corrections.
  3. They don't explain why you made a mistake. They might give a rule, but that's not the same as explaining clearly what you don't understand and answering your questions.

I'm afraid the best way is still to find a teacher! As for your example sentence, have a look at our page about sentences with wish. It should answer your question.
Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi, teachers.
comment over the following:
- I am agreable with you.

A forum member, asserts that (agreable) mean (ready to agree). And therefore he said it is grammatical in the above which I slightly doubt.
I need your confirmation on this.


Hello Ebenezer!
If you type agreeable into the dictionary you will see the example, Bridget is agreeable to the proposal. However, this meaning, ready to agree, is rather formal, and when used with a person as a subject needs a word like 'proposal' or 'solution' after the to.

Your example should use to, but I am agreeable to you sounds like the first meaning of agreeable, nice or pleasant - You think I am nice.
Hope that helps!
Jeremy Bee
The LearnEnglish Team

I will be good at English in the not too distant future.

Dear Admin,
I am an EFL teacher and I need your help. I have to teach grammar about "should" in the form of simple, continuous, and present perfect.
where can I find the explanation about "should"?
Can "should" be in the continuous form?
Please give me example.

Hello eribarongan,
There is no continuous form for modal verbs such as 'should'.  Modal verbs have a different set of rules governing their form than regular verbs - you can find more information about them here.
When teaching modal verbs it is important to focus on the meaning, as each modal verb can be used with a number of meanings in different contexts.  'Should', for example, can be used for giving advice and for deduction, amongst others.  Take a look at the pages following the link above for the various uses of different modal verbs, including 'should'.
You might also be interested in our sister-site for teachers of English.
Best wishes and good luck!
The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Peter,
I'd like to express my gratitude for your response. It is very helpful. This site can be an excellent source for me to teach.
I hope you don't mind if I often ask you questions related to English teaching.
For your information, my school is going to implement new curriculum (we call it Curriculum 2013). Based on the curriculum, teachers are asked to teach the material as stated in the syllabus set by the government. One of the materials in the syllabus is "spoken and written text about intention to do something".
to express intention can I use the following: would like to,will and, be going to?

Hello eribarongan,
You are welcome to ask questions - it's one of the things we're here for!  
All of the phrases you mention can be used for expressing intention.  There are others, of course, such as 'plan to', 'aim to', present continuous and so on, and the forms you mention also have other uses, so a clear context is important.
Best wishes and good luck with your new curriculum!
The LearnEnglish Team

 which of the following sentences is suitable for the following situation:
- I started preparing the exam and I want to tell that to my friend. So, should I say " I started preparing the exam" or " I have started preparing exam". what is the difference between them?
thanks in advance

Hello zagrus,

The sentences need some alteration:

'I've started preparing for the exam'


'I've started preparing the exam'

Both of these are correct sentences, but with different meanings.  We use the present perfect as there is no time reference (you could say 'I started preparing for the exam last week', for example).  The 'for' is important: in the first sentence, you are a student and you are going to take the exam; in the second sentence (with 'for'), you are a teacher and you are writing an exam which your students will take.

I hope that clarifies it for you.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team