Advanced present simple and continuous

C1 grammar: Advanced present simple and continuous

Do you know all the different uses of present simple and continuous? Test what you know with interactive exercises and read the explanation to help you.

Look at these examples to see how we use the present simple and continuous.

The world is changing and it's changing rapidly.
The earth revolves around the sun in approximately 365 days.
I'm an engineer, but I'm working as a taxi driver at the moment.
My daughter is always leaving clothes all over the floor.

Try this exercise to test your grammar.

Grammar test 1

GapFillDragAndDrop_MjQ3NDk=

Read the explanation to learn more.

Grammar explanation

Basic contrasts

We use the present simple to talk about:

  • something that is always or generally true

When you heat ice, it melts.

  • something that happens regularly

I go swimming twice a week.

  • continuing states.

She's very happy with her job.

We use the present continuous to talk about: 

  • actions which are in progress at the moment

He's busy. He's giving a presentation to some clients.  

  • temporary actions

I'm working from home this month.

  • something generally in progress but not actually happening at the moment

More and more people are feeling the effects of climate change.

  • future plans that have already been organised.

I'm going to Ghana next month. I booked my flights yesterday.

State verbs

State verbs describe a state rather than an action. They aren't usually used in continuous forms, so we use present simple instead of present continuous.

I don't know the answer. I'm not knowing the answer.
He really likes his new house. He's really liking his new house.
They seem busy at the moment. They're seeming busy at the moment.

State verbs often relate to:

  • thoughts and opinions: agree, believe, doubt, guess, imagine, know, mean, recognise, remember, suspect, think, understand
  • feelings and emotions: dislike, hate, like, love, prefer, want, wish
  • senses and perceptions: appear, be, feel, hear, look, see, seem, smell, taste
  • possession and measurement: belong, have, measure, own, possess, weigh.

Some verbs have a stative meaning and a different active meaning. 

I have a new computer. (state – possession)
I'm having a quick break. (action – having a break is an activity)

This coffee tastes delicious. (state – our perception of the coffee)
Look! The chef is tasting the soup. (action – tasting the soup is an activity)

Other uses of present continuous

  • verbs describing change and development

Life is becoming more expensive.

  • complaints and annoying habits

He's always coming in late and making noise. 

Other uses of present simple

  • headlines
    In headings at the top of articles in newspapers and magazines, references to the past are usually simplified to present simple.

Billionaire buys multinational company

  • instructions

Open the link and enter your password.

Plot summaries

Note that when describing the story of a book, film, play, etc., we use present tenses.

She quits her job and goes in search of adventure. 
While she is travelling in India, she meets someone special.

Anecdotes

People also sometimes use present tenses to tell an anecdote – a funny or interesting story about a real incident. This makes the story more immediate and dynamic.

So I'm on the bus and this guy comes up to me and starts talking to me about someone called Dev. I'm like, 'Sorry, do we know each other?'

Do this exercise to test your grammar again.
 

Grammar test 2

GapFillDragAndDrop_MjQ3NzI=

Language level

Average: 4.2 (55 votes)
Do you need to improve your English grammar?
Join thousands of learners from around the world who are improving their English grammar with our online courses.

Submitted by HLH on Thu, 25/01/2024 - 14:07

Permalink

Hello Team

Q) I have question about use now to mean present time I don't mean right now
She used to be a teacher, but now she works in publishing I mean now here present time and permanent

now She's staying with her friend for a week I mean now here present time and temporary
the population of the world now is increasing very fast I mean now here present time and about Change
He is writing a book now (I mean now here present time and around now)
are those correct ?

Hello HLH,

Yes, those are all correct sentences and correct explanations. I think you've got it - well done!

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team