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What I Am Doing Now Is Not What I Do Every Day – Present Progressive vs. Present Simple.

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By Olga Koliichuk

Let’s compare the Present Simple (Indefinite) and the Present Progressive (Continuous) Tenses.

You probably know how they are formed so I’m only putting them in a small table.

The Present Simple Tense

+ (Affirmative)

–          (Negative)

? (Question)

I, You, We, They verb:

dance

I, you, we, they don’t + verb:

don’t dance

Do I, you, we, they verb?
Do you surf the net every day?
He, She , It verb: + (e)s

dances

He, She, It doesn’t + verb:

doesn’t  dance

Does he, she, it verb?
Does she usually drive to her office?

The Present Continuous Tense

+ (Affirmative)

–          (Negative)

? (Question)

I

am

verb+ing

I

am not

verb+ing

Am I

verb+ing?

He, She, It

is

He, She, It

isn’t

Is he, she, it
You, We, They

are

You, We, They

aren’t

Are you, we, they
I am playing with the dog.

She is selling ice cream.

You are parachuting from a plane.

I am not reading this article.

He isn’t measuring the temperature.

They aren’t focusing on this topic.

Am I losing my patience?

Is the mouse sitting next to me?

Are we skating on the ice?

Bangkok Bus on the 191

 

The Present Simple Tense describes:

–          a regular action (I go to the university every day.)

–          a current action (On Friday we go shopping, then go to a restaurant, have a cappuccino and go to the cinema.)

–          something that is generally true (I hate chocolate.)

–          a fact (Water boils at 100 degrees.)

–          a timetable (My train arrives at 4.00.)

 

The Present Progressive (Continuous) describes:

–          an action happening at the moment of speaking (Now the children are playing with the ball.)

–          the near future (I am coming this weekend!)

–          an action happening at a limited period of time (From 5 till 6 he is reading his favorite journal.)

–          parallel actions (While I am cooking he is playing with the baby.).

Note: Being attentive to adverbs and any time words can help you choose the right tense. These are words like: every, sometimes, usually, always, at the moment, now, when, and while. But you should base you decision about which tense is suitable also on the situation.

walking

Exercise 1 Choose the right tense. It may be possible that both are correct.

  1. I ___________ (like) chocolate, which is why I ___________________(eat) a bar now.
  2. We always _______ (go) this way, but now the weather is not good so we _________ (driving) home.
  3. His plane __________________ (depart) at 5:00 this afternoon.
  4. His father ___________ (come) for a fortnight.
  5. Why ________ you _______(cry)? Look, we can glue your cup and it will look exactly as it was.
  6. While our son _________________ (working), we _______________ (watch TV) in the living room.
  7. On Wednesday we_____________ (cook) something special for dinner and the whole family ______________ (gather) under our roof.
  8. Hi, what ________ you ________ (do)? – I __________ (buy) a new laptop at the moment.
  9. They ___________ (dance) from 7 till 8. They ___________ (have) a contest next week.
  10. The Earth ___________ (rotate) around its axis.

 

Exercise 2 Make sentences by putting the following words into the right order:

  1. We, now, drink, I, coffee, but, usually, am, drinking, apple juice.
  2. How, much, do, time, task, you, spend, on, this, every, day?
  3. We, cash money, counting, are, not, goods, selling, we, are, our, while.
  4. When, return, does, from, his, he, drama course, every week?
  5. Uncle, eats, my, meat, he, because, is, a, never, vegetarian.
  6. Why, the, grow, do, very, trees, slowly?
  7. In, the, exercises, we, army, very, early, do, many, and, get up.
  8. They, leaving, hurry, hour, in, half, an, are, so, up!
  9. Our, always, choose, big, relatives, this, restaurant, for, parties.
  10. Jane, this, uses, as well, application, because, it, very, is, useful.

Solutions to these exercises: underneath.

Olga Koliichuk is an English teacher from Ukraine. She also speaks Russian, Spanish, Japanese and German and she knows Latin. She has been teaching English for four years and is eager to help the subscribers to the Newsletter improve their English.

 

Answers to the Exercises:

Exercise 1

  1. I ___like________ (like) chocolate, which is why I _am eating__________________(eat) a bar now.
  2. We always ___go____ (go) this way, but now the weather is not good so we __are driving_______ (driving) home.
  3. His plane ____departs______________ (depart) at 5:00 this afternoon.
  4. His father __is coming_________ (come) for a fortnight.
  5. Why ___are you crying_________(cry)? Look, we can glue your cup and it will look exactly as it was.
  6. While our son __is working_______________ (working), we __are watching_____________ (watch TV) in the living room.
  7. On Wednesday we__are cooking___________ (cook) something special for dinner and the whole family ___is gathering___________ (gather) under our roof.
  8. Hi, what ____are____ you __doing______ (do)? – I __am buying________ (buy) a new laptop at the moment.
  9. They __dance_________ (dance) from 7 till 8. They __are having_________ (have) a contest next week.
  10. The Earth ___rotates________ (rotate) around its axis.

 

Exercise 2

  1. We usually drink apple juice but now I am drinking coffee.
  2. How much time do you spend on this task every day?
  3. While we are counting cash money we are not selling our goods.
  4. When does he return from his drama course every week?
  5. My uncle never eats meat because he is a vegetarian.
  6. Why do the trees grow very slowly?
  7. In the army we get up very early and do many exercises.
  8. They are leaving in half an hour, so hurry up!
  9. Our relatives always choose this big restaurant for parties.
  10. Jane uses this application as well, because it is very useful.

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6 thoughts on “What I Am Doing Now Is Not What I Do Every Day – Present Progressive vs. Present Simple.

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