Difference Between Present Simple and Present Continuous

Main Difference – Present Simple vs. Present Continuous

Present tense is the tense that is used to talk about the present and the future. There are four present tense forms in the English Language. They are Present Simple and Present Continuous, Present Perfect and Present Perfect Continuous. The main difference between Present Simple and Present Continuous is that Present Simple is used to describe daily routine, repeated actions, and facts while Present Continuous is used to discuss actions, events taking place as we speak. In this article, we are going to focus on the difference between Present Simple and Present Continuous based on their use and formation.

Present Simple – Meaning and Usage

The Present simple is used when we are talking about general actions or else actions that take place repeatedly. The instances in which the Present Simple is used can be categorized under the following themes.

Habits, Daily Routine or Repeated Actions

I wake up every day at 6.30 am.

He plays cricket with his friends every weekend.

He works at St. Mary’s hospital.

Facts or Generalization

The sun rises from the east.

Dogs are loyal.

Colombo is a city in Sri Lanka.

Scheduled events in the future

He leaves for London this evening.

This program starts at 10.00 pm.

The train leaves at 6.55 am.

Non-Continuous Verbs

I have two daughters.

I like her.

I am fine.

Difference Between Present Simple and Present Continuous

The sky is blue.


The only change that can be noticed in the simple present formation is the inflection in singular third person. You have to add ‘s’ or ‘es’ to pronouns he, she and it. Given below is the conjugation of the verb ‘to like’.

I like

You like

She/He/It likes

You like

We like

They like

Present Continuous – Meaning and Usage

The Present Continuous tense is also known as present progressive tense. Present continuous is used to refer to events and actions that are happening now.

I’m writing a grammar article.

He is sleeping.

She is chatting with her friends.

It is also used to refer to actions and events that take a long time or the actions in progress.

He is trying to learn cooking.

She is studying to become a doctor.

Are you looking for a job?

Present continuous tense denotes Present plans for the future as well.

I’m going to a party tonight.

He is meeting his friends this evening.

I’m taking my son to Disneyland for his birthday.

Remember that some verbs cannot be used in the continuous tense. Verbs that indicate state (ex: be, suit, mean, fit), possession (ex: belong, have), senses (ex: feel, hear, sense, taste, touch), feelings (ex: hate, hope, like, regret, want) cannot be written in the Present continuous tense.

Main Difference - Present Simple vs Present Continuous

The baby is sleeping


Present continuous tense is formed by adding verb+ ing to the ‘be’ verb. For example, look at the conjugation of ‘to talk’ given below.

Subject + BE+ verb+ing

I am talking

You are talking

He/She/It is talking

We are talking

They are talking

Difference Between Present Simple and Present Continuous


Present Simple is used to discuss daily routine and repeated actions.

Present Continuous is used to discuss actions, events taking place as we speak (now).


Present Simple tense is easier to form as most of the nouns take the infinitive as the verb.

Present Continuous is more complex as it involves auxiliary verb and infinitive + ing.


All the verbs can be used in Present Simple Tense.

Certain verbs cannot be used in Present Continuous tense.

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