How to Choose between Present Simple and Present Continuous (Progressive)

English with a Smile

wash hair (1)

Gregg O’Connell

A quick overview of the differences between these two basic tenses.

Present Simple: Use this tense for habits and permanent things.

Habits = things that people do regularly.

Permanent things = things that are always the same.


Tom washes his hair twice a week.

I am a teacher.

Her parents live in Birmingham.

They love chocolate ice cream.

We feel great.

Why are love and feel in Present Simple? Because you always love something. And you can always feel.

For more basic instruction in Present Simple, have a look here.

For questions in Present Simple, take a look at this lesson here.

Present Continuous (Progressive): use this tense to talk about things that are happening now, or for a certain period.

Note: You can use Present Continuous for things that take place during a few months or even half a year, but not for things…

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