What is the difference between the Present Simple & Present Continuous (Present Progressive)?

How do I use the Present Simple and the Present Continuous? – what’s the difference?

Present Simple

Present Continuous (also called the Present Progressive)

Things that always/usually happen, to give facts and information about things or people:

  • It snows in the North Pole.
  • Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius.
  • John lives in Barcelona and works as a painter.
When you are talking about something happening right now:

  • John is walking in the mountains.
  • Sue is studying in her room.
  • The meeting is taking place now.
When we talk about fixed habits,

  • I eat breakfast every day.

Things we do regularly, or routines:

  • I start work at 9 am.
When things happen for a short period of time/temporary situations:

  • Paul is sleeping at his friend’s place this week.
  • We are from Ireland but we’re visiting New York for the summer.


Planned events as a part of a program:

  • The meeting finishes at 3 pm.
  • The train leaves at 8 in the morning.
Confirmed plans for the future:

  • I am meeting George for a date tonight.
  • We are going to Dubai next week.