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?

The difference between the Present Simple and Present Continuous is that the Present Simple is used to give facts or talk about habits, while the Present Continuous is for when you are talking about something happening right now.

More detailed examples and sentences are explained in detail below.



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.

These are the three main differences between the Present Simple and Present Continuous.