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 or always 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.





Hello, team! I have read such a sentence "How long does it takes to form a first impression about someone’s face? " To me, it's strange that 'takes' had been spelt with s in the end. Would you comment please? Thank you!

Hello Albert aka Alan,

There should not be an 's' on the end of 'take' in that sentence as it is a question; the base form (infinitive without 'to') is required. I don't know where the sentence comes from but it is clearly a mistake, though it may simply be a typo rather than a lack of knowledge.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you Peter! Actually the source is BBC Learning English, Feature: 6 Minute English ''Faces and first impressions'' . So I hope they did a typo ))

I have one question and i didn't know where to post it. I think talking about present is better for this.
I have read one sentence which i think is incorrect 1"Certainly, your examination language is ENGLISH."
I think it should be or 2"Certainly, your examination language WILL BE ENGLISH." or 3"Certainly, the language of your examination is ENGLISH." but not the first one. Could you please answer is the first question correct or no?
Am i right that we can use only 2 or 3 but not 1 ?

Thank you in advance!

Hello Zaur Guliyev,

None of the examples you give are incorrect. The use of 'certainly' at the beginning seems a little odd to me but without knowing the context in which the sentence is used and the intended purpose there is little more that we can say. On LearnEnglish we usually do no provide explanations of sentences like this from elsewhere precisely because it is often impossible to comment without knowing the full context in which they are used.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you very much for your answer. The context is that it is written in e-mail two days before exam.
If you can't comment on this i understand.
Thank you again for your response.

Hello Zaur,

I agree with Peter -- although 'certainly' is a bit odd, all three of those sentences are fine. You could also say 'Your exam will be in English'.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you!

I have a question regarding two of examples:
"The children come home from school at about four." - present simple
"I’m usually getting ready for work at eight o’clock." - present continuous
Both are happening regulary and we have a given time.
If i will say: I get ready for work at eight o'clock. - that will be mistake?

Hello Karolka,

No, it would not be a mistake but the meaning would be slightly different. The present continuous form here means something like 'I'm usually in the middle of this action at...' while the present simple means 'I do this action at...'

Generally this is not a hugely important distinction, but sometimes it can be important.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team