Present simple and present continuous

The present simple is for routines, habits, general truths, and other permanent states.

They exercise three times a week.

There are some verbs in English that are only used in the present simple, and never go into the continuous form because they describe a state of permanence. These are called state (or stative) verbs. For example, love, know, hate, understand etc.

When you know something, or understand something, you should always knowor understand it.

a) I know what you mean. I am knowing what you mean.

b) I understand what he is saying. I am understanding what he is saying.


The present continuous is used to describe things that are happening at the moment of speaking. These could be temporary situations or actions in progress.

c) We are living in France because we are studying here. (temporary situation)

d) I am eating breakfast now because I have to go to work early. (action in progress)


We also use the present continuous with the adverb always to talk about annoying habits that other people have.

f) My mother is always nagging me to tidy up my room.


Exercise 1

Choose the correct answer in brackets

a) I (eat /am eating) lunch every Sunday with my family.

b) I (drive /am driving) right now, so I can’t answer my phone.

c) She (goes /is going) to the market every Saturday afternoon with her mother.

d) He (visits /is visiting) his grandfather in the hospital, but he will call you when he gets back.

e) My best friend (is always picking/always picks) his nose.

f) He (knows/is knowing) not to tell me to calm down when I am angry.

g) My brother (loves/is loving) listening to music on his iPod.

h) She (is understanding/understands) a little Turkish because she loves watching Turkish soap operas.

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