Published On: March 20, 2012

Lesson Nine — Verb Tenses: Simple Present vs. Present Continuous

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Today we are going to review the Simple Present and Present Continuous verb tenses.

 We use the Simple Present tense:

  • For repeated or regular actions in the present time.

Example: He never forgets his watch.

  • For facts.

Example: Tom works very hard. He starts at 8.30 and finishes at 7.30pm.

  • For habits.

Example: We usually go to the movies at the weekends.

  • For things that are generally true.

Example: Every twelve months, the Earth circles the Sun.



We use the Present Continuous mainly to express the idea that an action is happening at the moment of speaking. We can also use the Present Continuous:

  • For activities happening now, but not necessarily at this moment.

Example: Sally is studying hard for her exams next week.

  • For activities in the near future, especially for planned future events.

Example: I am seeing my dentist next Monday.


Fill in the gaps with either Simple Present or Present Continuous using the verb in parentheses. [Answers will be provided at the end of the exercise.]

  1. The bus ____________________(come) now.
  2. Look! Those children ______________(cross) the street alone.
  3. Tom is very busy now. I think he ____________(prepare) his project.
  4. I ____________(buy) a newspaper every day, but sometimes I don’t read it.
  5. Mary Jo____________(travel) to Europe every year. She ___________(write)

a book about her trips.

  1. The wind always__________(blow) hard in Chicago during Winter time.
  2. My parents ___________(watch) TV at the moment.
  3. My best friend_____________(come) for dinner tomorrow.
  4. Sally _____________(take) a bath.
  5. Peter usually___________(spend) his time off at the Mall with his friends.Answers: 1(is coming) 2(are crossing) 3(is preparing) 4(buy) 5(travels) (is writing) 6(blows) 7(are watching) 8(is coming) 9(is taking) 10(spends).


These exercises were written by Luiza Moura, who has a Master’s Degree in teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) from UFPR. She is a private English instructor in Curitiba and can be contacted at


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