English Lessons Houston
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Feb 19 2018

English Lessons Houston: Present Tense vs. Present Continuous

Hi Students!  Here is a lesson from English Lessons Houston on when to use the Present Tense and the Present Continuous Tense.

Present Simple Tense

Use the present simple tense

  1. To talk about routines

I usually read the paper in the morning.

I go to the gym every night.

  1. To talk about states

The Yellow River runs through China.

Canada borders the United States.

  1. To talk about things we think of as permanent

Brazil is part of South America.

A square has four sides.


  1. To talk about future time introduced by when, as soon as, after, if, etc.

When I speak with my boss tomorrow, I’ll tell him about the new project.

If I talk to my brother, I’ll invite him for dinner tonight.

  1. To talk about “timetable” events

My train leaves at 4:00 p.m.

I travel to Paris on Friday.

Common phrases used with the present simple tense are:  as a rule, generally speaking, on the whole, every day/week/month/year, once a week/day/year, most of the time, etc.

Present Continuous

Use the present continuous tense

  1. To talk about an action happening at the moment of speaking

Mr. Yu is giving his presentation to his colleagues.  

I am eating dinner with my family right now.

  1. To talk about things we think of as temporary

I am working in Houston for a few weeks.

I am living in an apartment until my house is finished.

  1. To talk about a project that is “ongoing” and unfinished

I am writing a book about American politics.

We are waiting for the bus to arrive.

  1. To talk about a gradual change or development

Because of global warming, sea levels are rising.

Due to the heavy rain, people are driving slowly on the streets.

  1. To talk about an appointment or an arrangement in the future.

I am traveling to Belgium on Thursday.

She is having lunch with her boss later today.

Common phrases used with the present continuous are currently, for the moment, at the moment, for the time being, tomorrow, right now, etc.


Students, I wish you great success.  If you would like to have SKYPE lessons or if you live in the Houston area and would like to have private lessons, please contact Worldwide English at julie@englishlessons-houston.com or give us a call at 713-993-6511.


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