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Simple Present or Present Continuous

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Hi there!

 

So when do you use the simple present tense, and when do you use the present continuous tense?

 

Why do we say: I do photography, but then we can also say: I'm doing a photography course?

 

And why do we say: I only eat organic vegetables, but then we can also say: I'm only eating organic vegetables in this period?

 

Well, here are 2 very useful guidelines to follow:

 

1. Whenever we talk about matters of fact or things that happen in general which are permanent or semi-permanent, then we don't use any articles; so we don't use the words: a, an, or the.

If the objects or nouns we talk about are countable, then we say the plural version of that word, which means that you add the letter: S onto the end of that word.

In this case we have to use simple present.

 

Here are some examples:

I live in a capital city

People in Malawi smile a lot

He works for a language school

 

These are all things which happen in general which are permanent or semi-permanent, so we use simple present.

 

2. Whenever we talk about matters of fact or things that happen in general which are temporary or which have a foreseeable end, then once again, we don't use any articles; so we don't use the words: a, an, or the.

If the objects or nouns we talk about are countable, then we say the plural version of that word, which means that you add the letter: S on to the end of that word.

In this case we have to use present continuous.

 

Here are some examples:

I'm living in Dubai for 2 years and after that, I'm going to move to another city.

People are becoming annoyed in this period, due to the public transport strikes.

He's working for a language school for now, but next year he's going to open his own school.

 

Now, here are some other examples with both simple present and present continuous:

 

If I take photographs regularly, all year round, then as this is a matter of fact in general which is permanent, then I need to say: I do photography.

 

But, if I'm participating in a photography course which is a matter of fact in general which is temporary, and will end in maybe 2 or 3 weeks, then I need to say: I'm doing a photography course.

 

Then if I only eat organic vegetables, all the time, then as I'm talking about a thing in general that happens in a permanent way, then I need to say: I only eat organic vegetables.

 

But if I'm only eating organic vegetables for a determined period which is temporary, let's say for 6 months, then I can say: I'm only eating organic vegetables for a few months.

 

I park cars. This means that I park cars, and anyone listening to me will understand that this is my permanent job.

 

I'm parking cars for now. This means that I'm parking cars for a period of time which will end in the near future, and anyone listening to me will understand that this is a temporary job.

 

So, now that you know the differences between simple present and present continuous, try doing the quiz on Go Speak English and see if you can get 100%

You can also watch many other English video lessons on Go Speak English.

Thanks, and I hope to see you again soon!

 

 

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