Learning Zone
Learning Zone
Grammar

Present Simple & Present Continuous – comparison

Level: A1, A2

 PRESENT CONTINUOUS TENSE

THE AFFIRMATIVE FORMS TO BE + VERB + ING

The verb in Present Continuous consists of two elements: appropriate auxiliary verb “to be” (I am, you are, etc.) and the main verb with the addition of the -ing ending.

TO BE + VERB + ING

My boyfriend is watching a football match at the moment.
Stop making such a noise! I‘m trying to rest!

SPELLING RULES

By adding -ing to some verbs, you need to make some changes in their spelling:

in monosyllabic verbs containing a short (usually single in spelling) vowel, and at the same time, ending with a single consonant – this consonant is doubled get – getting
let – letting
put – putting
in longer verbs, if the last syllable is stressed and ends with a single consonant, we also double the last consonant. admit -admitting
begin – beginning
prefer – preferring
forget- forgetting
if the verb ends in e, this vowel is omitted have – having
make – making
prepare – preparing
in two – and more syllable verbs ending with -I (if preceded by a short vowel, we double the final -I travel – travelling
signal – signalling

There are some exceptions, in particular verbs ending with -ee, for example:
agree – agreeing
see – seeing
age – ageing
dye – dyeing

QUESTIONS AND NEGATIVE FORMS

Questions in Present Continuous are formed through an inversion, i.e. reversing the word order in a sentence.
Let’s compare:

I am working at the moment.
Am I working at the moment?

She’s helping her mother.
Is she helping her mother?

The negative sentence is formed by contradicting the auxiliary verb to be – that is, adding the word “not” to the form of the conjugated verb:

It’s raining.
It‘s not raining/ It isn’t raining.

My mum is cooking now.
My mum‘s not cooking now.
I’m sleeping.
I‘m not sleeping.

USAGE

Present Continuous expresses the actions happening in a given moment, i.e. when we talk about them:

Tom is hiding under the table.
Where are you going?
Look! It’s snowing again!
Lucy is speaking to her sister on the phone.

These are the most characteristic time expressions used in Present Continuous:

at the moment
at present
this week
this month/year
now
today

PRESENT SIMPLE TENSE

 AFFIRMATIVE FORM

In Present Simple Tense, the verb is in its basic form.

I play the piano.
Children like sweets.

The third-person singular is the exception, as we add the ending -s to the verb.

My sister never reads comic books.
Tom works in a bank.

SPELLING RULES

Some of the verbs take the -es, instead of -s ending.

 verbs ending with I, You, We, You, They He, She, It
-ss  kiss kisses
-sh wash washes
-ch watch watches
-x fix fixes
-o do does

In the verbs ending with the consonant + y, the final -y turns into -ie-.

I fly.
The plane flies.

They cry.
She cries.

When we have a vowel before -y, there is no change in spelling:

She often buys fish here.
Robert plays the violin.

Also please note the irregular form of the verb “have” in the third-person singular:

I have a nice flat near the river.
Betty has a big house in the suburbs.

QUESTIONS AND NEGATIVE FORMS

We form questions and negative forms by addition of the auxiliary verb “do”, which in the third person singular receives -es ending (does). In negative sentences, we usually use short forms:

do + not = don’t
do + not = doesn’t

When using the operator “does”, we no longer add the -s ending to the verb because this ending has been “transferred” to the auxiliary verb:

I speak Spanish.
I don’t speak any Spanish.

Mary grows vegetables in her garden.
Mary doesn’t grow any vegetables in her garden.

USAGE

We use Present Simple to express:

activities that are repeated over time, happening regularly Lots of people go to work by bike.
permanent situations I live in a big city.
the first conditional sentences If you see Lucy, ask her about the meeting.

These are the most characteristic time expressions used in Present Simple:

always
sometimes
never
every week/ month
every two/ three.., weeks/ years
often
usually
on Fridays/ Mondays
rarely/ seldom
once/ twice/ four times… a day/ week

PRESENT SIMPLE AND PRESENT CONTINUOUS – COMPARISON

PRESENT CONTINUOUS Describes what is happening at a given moment, now.

The characteristic expressions are: now, at the moment, at present, nowadays.

Present Continuous does not occur with verbs, such as: know, see, need, remember, forget, prefer, believe, seem, hear, belong, etc.

It should then be replaced by Present Simple Tense.

PRESENT SIMPLE Describes regular, routine, repetitive activities as well as applicable standards and objective truths.

It often occurs with expressions, such as: always, sometimes, usually, never, hardly ever, every (Monday), once a (week).

 

© 2019 engxam. All rights reserved.