Present Continuous or Present Simple? I’m doing … or … I do … ?

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  • Post category:grammar

When things happen? In the Past … In the Present … In the Future … ?
Things happen today/now, or is it in the past, in the present, in the future?

Things are happening NOW? in a few minutes?
=> Present Continuous (I’m doing …)

Things happen in general, every day, week, month ?
=> Present simple (I do …)

Present Continuous (I’m doing …) : … NOW
The water is boiling.
Take your umbrella, it’s raining today!
I’m learning to drive.
I’m working hard today, I have an english test tomorrow.

Present Simple (I do …) : … in general
Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius.
In London, it rains often.
We learn to drive when we are 18.
Maria works hard her english, she wants to live in London.

Temporary situation (present): … NOW
I’m watching TV until 6 o’clock.
I’m living with my cousin until I find a flat.
I’m working hard today, I have an english test tomorrow.
It’s raining today, take your umbrella.

Permanent situations (often, always … ): .. in general
I watch TV only on Saturday.
She lives with her husband.
He works hard his english lessons, he likes this language.
It rains a lot in London.

« I’m always doing » & « I always do »
I always do something … (It’s an habit.):
I always go to work by foot.
I’m always doing something …
The meaning is different: I do it too often!
I‘m always playing video games.
=> Too often ! I should stop!

REMEMBER: we use
the Present Continuous to talk about events which are temporary/limited in time,
the Present Simple to talk about events which are habits/permanent.

Present Simple is used for:
regular actions or events: He plays piano every day.
facts: The sun rises in the east.
facts known about the future: We leave at 6.30 next Sunday.
thoughts, feelings: I don’t feel very well today.

Present Continuous is used for:
the time of speaking (now):
Quiet, I’m trying to learn my english lesson.
things (true at the moment but not always)
We’re looking for a new car.

Present plans for the future:
We’re having dinner with our parents next week .
Examples :
I don’t usually drink coffee.
I’m drinking some coffee because there is nothing else.
I often cycle to work
I’m taking the car this morning because it’s raining.
I’m thinking about buying a new car.
I don’t think my wife will be very happy about this idea.
My parents live in London.
I’m just visiting London (I live in Manchester).