Hey ABA family!
English verbs can sometimes be a little irritating when it comes to figuring out if you have to use one tense or another. Today we are going to look at the differences between the uses of the present simple and the present continuous in English.
When do we use the the present simple?
This is the tense we use when we are talking about everyday things and habitual actions in general in the present.
- I live in Spain
- He always goes to the cinema
- They never do their homework.
What about the present continuous?
In English, we do not tend to use the present continuous to describe general things in English but more to describe things that we are doing in a specific moment as the action is an ongoing action.
- I’m watching television (at this moment)
- My friends are playing XBOX (at this moment)
- They are travelling to Canada (at this moment they are on their way there)
It is important to pay attention to the fact that the action is in progress in these examples and not something that happens on a regular basis.
Does the present continuous have any other uses?
The present continuous is also used to express a future action that will occur within the near future.
- I’m going to visit my cousin this evening
- They’re playing football after work
- He’s finishing his project after school
In some instances, people in the United Kingdom actually use the present continuous for the distant future instead of “will”. It is important to remember that “will” remains the official future simple auxiliary verb.
What’s the key?
It is important to remember the clear differences of these tenses:
Present simple – To speak in general in English about general present tense actions
Present continuous – To speak about an ongoing continuous action or close future action
If you adhere to these rules, everything will fall into place. For more information on this you can sign up for free to the ABA course and check out unit 38