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Learning Zone
Learning Zone

Present Continuous & Present Simple – additional usage

Level: B1


In addition to the usage rules mentioned above, we also use Present Continuous to express:

  • activities taking place now, with the word “now” having a broader meaning:

We’re building a house in the countryside.
I can’t lend you this book – I’m reading it!

  • longer activities, which are extended over time but are not permanent or repetitive; these are usually temporary situations.

    I’m not feeling well today.
    She‘s not having her classes this month.

  • change, progress, and development:

    My English is getting much better.
    Prices are rising again.

  • scheduled certain future activities, usually concerning the near future, i.e. scheduled meetings or visits.

    I’m going to my doctor tomorrow at 8 a.m.
    She‘s coming home tonight.

  • critical opinions or expressions of irritation, especially with the word always.

    He‘s always making such a noise!
    You‘re always making that mistake!

The verbs indicating emotions, feelings and sense impressions ( seeing, hearing) are usually not represented by Present Continuous. To express such states, we use Simple Present or can (not)+ verb.

I don’t understand what you’re talking about!
I can’t hear anything.
She loves you.


In addition to the usage rules mentioned above, we also use Present Simple to express:

  • general truths and principles:

London lies on the River Thames.
The Earth goes around the Sun.

  • timetables and programmes:

The train leaves at 8.30.
When does the film start?

  • emotions and feelings which, although they take place in a given moment, cannot be expressed with Present Continuous:

Do you understand? I hate him!
I don’t need those clothes.

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