The Present Simple:

General Rule
Things that are generally true, but not necessarily happening in this moment:-

Routines – I clean my teeth every night. Habits – I collect computer games.
Timetables – My maths class starts at 11:00. Natural Laws – The sun rises in the east.

Present states

A state verb is a verb that cannot be used with ‘ing’ * and is either true or not and fit the following categories.

Emotions I love my family.
Likes / Dislikes. I like chocolate but I don’t like chocolate ice cream.
Our Senses This tea tastes sweet.
Thought / Belief I understand my homework, but I don’t know the answer to Question 5.

* BE CAREFUL:  Sometimes a verb can be both a state verb and a normal one, but its meaning changes:

  • It tastes horrible – it has a bad taste (state verb)
  • I am tasting the soup to see if it is nice – I am testing the soup (non-state verb)

The Present Continuous

  • Things that are happening now, they are temporary (they started at some time and will finish at sometime) or interrupted (not doing it right now).
    • I am listening to music (right now).
    • I am reading an interesting book about computers (not now I am in a lesson).
  • Habits that are annoying for us.
    • He is always singing when I am trying to sleep.
  • We also use it to describe future plans and intentions, but this is discussed in a different lesson.

Now complete the practice exercise below.


Fill in the following with either the present simple or the present continuous form of the given verb.  If necessary change the form of the verb to make it fit.  Do NOT use shortened forms (I am  not I'm)

  1. He ____________ (live) in a big house at the end of the street. 
  2. I ____________ (read) a great book by John Grisham. 
  3. I ____________ (make) dinner at the moment. 
  4. Of course he ____________ (know) Tom. 
  5. He ____________ (make) stupid noises again!
  6. At school we ____________ (learn) about the Second World War this week.
  7. They ____________ (hope) to visit us soon. 
  8. They ____________ (arrive) at about 10pm tonight. 
  9. Water ____________ (boil) at 100 C. 
  10. My bus ____________ (depart) at exactly 18.03.