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