Have practice in using Present Simple and Present Continuous

Exam in Mind  Level B1 / B2

In general or right now? Present Simple vs Present Continuous

Let’s revise Present Simple vs Present Continuous

Present Simple is used to describe:

  • habitual actions or  permanent states:  She works in a bank.He sometimes goes swimming. I never do anything I feel is against my principles. I always complain if the service is bad in restaurants.
  • universal truths,  generalizations, laws of nature, scientific facts: Ice melts when heated. Stress causes high blood pressure.
  • instructions, sports  commentaries, stage directions: First you chop the meat, then you fry it. First you take the photos and sort them into categories.
  • in exclamatory sentences with There goes… and Here comes… : There goes the bus! Here comes trouble!
  • dramatic narration in summaries of historic events; plots of films, etc.; informal story-telling; headlines:  1789. George Washington becomes the first president of the USA
  • arranged future actions (timetables, schedules, programmes): The match begins at 8.30 next Monday evening. The bus for Brighton departs in an hour.
  • in subordinate clauses of time and condition after conjunctions when, after, before, as soon as, until, till, if, in case, unless, on condition that, suppose, supposed, the moment, provided, providing, etc.:  If it keeps on raining we’ll have to stay at home.

Time expressions of Present Simple Tense are:

always, usually, generally, seldom, rarely, sometimes, often, frequently, occasionally, twice a year, once a week, every day, once in a while, from time to time, hardly ever, every other day, etc. 

Present Continuous is used to describe:

  • actions in progress  happening at/ around the moment of speaking: They are looking for a flat at the moment.
  • two simultaneous  parallel actions in progress: While she’s looking for accommodation, she’s staying with us.
  • temporary actions: He is sleeping at the moment. Prices are rising nowadays.
  • repeated actions with alwaysconstantly, all the time,  always, continually, foreveragain to show annoyance, irritation, criticism: He’s always biting his nails. I am forever having problems with this computer. You are continually interrupting.
  • situations which are changing during the present time: The weather is getting hotter and hotter.This area is changing a lot. Oil prices are rising at present.
  • definite arrangement or personal plans: They are going on an excursion tomorrow. We are having a party on Friday.

Time expressions of Present Continuous Tense are: 

at the moment, now, at present, just now, right now, still, these days, nowadays, for the time being, tonight, etc

Present Simple vs Present Continuous

Exercise 1. Read the answers and then complete the questions.

1. Where _________________________________? – Sue? She lives at the end of Axwell Road.

2. Do ___________________________________? – Jim? No, I don’t know him.

3. What _________________________________? – At the moment? I’m doing my homework.

4. Are ___________________________________? – Here? No, we are sitting over there.

5. Why ___________________________________? – I’m wearing two pullovers because I feel cold.

6. When ___________________________________? – Kate? She comes home at 6.30.

7. What ___________________________________? – Italian bread? It tastes of garlic.

8. When __________________________________? – My roommate? She goes to bed at midnight on Saturdays.

9. Where ____________________________________? – Nick goes to Greece every year to visit his family.

10. Who ___________________________________? – Mary? She is dancing with his brother.

11. What ___________________________________? – Well, I am thinking of buying a new car.

12. When _________________________________? – Who? My father? I think he retires at the end of next month.

13. Where ___________________________________? – On Saturday night? She is staying with her parents.

14. Who ___________________________________? – The blue one? The car belongs to Jerry.

15. How much _______________________________? – This one or that one? That piece of meat weighs about three pounds.

16. What ___________________________________? – Let me see. The bottle contains water.

17. How ___________________________________? – I am feeling much better today.

18. When __________________________________? – The calendar says the sun rises at 5.50 tomorrow morning.

19. What ___________________________________? – It seems she is crying.

20. Who ___________________________________? – Bill and John are watching TV.

Exercise 2. Put the verbs in brackets into the Present Simple or Present Continous.

1. John (paint)_______________ the garage at the moment.

2. Carol can’t swim today, she (have)_______________ a cold.

3. See you in the morning. I (leave)______________ now.

4. What we (eat)_______________ this evening? I’m really hungry!

5. She (have)_______________ lunch with James on Tuesday.

6. Where you (go)_______________? I haven’t finished speaking to you!

7. You (eat)_______________ vegetables every day? – No, I usually (have)_____________ meat at the weekend.

8. He (come)_______________ to see us on Sunday morning.

9. Why you (look)_______________ at me like that? Have I done something wrong?

10. This bus (stop)_______________ outside the Post Office?

11. I (not/take)_______________ the bus to school today. My mother (give)_______________ me a lift.

12. What you (do)_______________ this evening? – I (see)________________ Pete.

13. Don’t worry about the cat. It only (eat)_______________ once a day.

14. How you (get)_______________ on at your new school? – I (hate)_______________ it.

15. I always (have)_______________ problems with this computer.

16. Excuse me, but you (speak)_______________ English? I (look)_______________ for a hotel.

17. She (stay)_______________ with her brother while her house is being repaired.

18. You should go on a diet. You (put)_______________ on weight.

19. They (speak)_______________ German or French? I can’t tell the difference.

20. You always (forget)_______________ your keys.

21. The train from Brussels (arrive)_______________ at Platform 5.

22. Tom always (take)_______________ a cold shower as soon as he (get up)_______________.

23. I never (use)_______________ my mobile phone if I (drive)_______________.

24. Mary (prefer)_______________ to be with Paul because James always (argue)_______________.

25. Maria always (forget)_______________ what time the soap opera (start)_______________.

26. You always (complain)_______________ about the state of the flat but you never (help)_______________ me.

27. Johnny, you (listen)_______________ to me? What you (think)_______________ about?

28. He always (borrow)_______________ money but he always (pay)_______________ me back.

29. I only (work)_____________ there for a couple of months because I (go)_______________ abroad in summer.

30. If you (not listen)_______________ to the radio, why don’t you switch it off?

31. It seldom (get)_______________ very hot in Great Britain.

32. She always (break)_______________ things in the kitchen.

33. It often (snow)_______________ here in winter?

34. I never (do)_______________ anything I (feel)_______________ is against my principles.

35. I (feel)_______________ she (make)_______________ a mistake.

36. More and more people (move)_______________ to the countryside these days.

37. I always (complain)_______________ if the service is bad in restaurants.

38. I (use)_______________ John’s mobile phone because I left mine at home.

39. His only bad habit is that he (talk)_______________ too loudly.

40. You (interrupt)_______________ always me when I (talk)_______________.

41. It (get)_______________ colder and colder every day.

42. Whenever I (see)_______________ Tom he (smoke)__________.

43. The light from the Sun (take)_______________ 8 min 20 sec to reach the Earth.

44. Scientists (believe)_______________ that the weather (change)_______________.

45. More and more people (develop)_______________ health problems because of air pollution.

46. The evening performance (start)_______________ at nine o’clock.

47. I (look)_______________ forward to this holiday. The hotel (look)_______________ lovely in the photos.

48. Some people still (think)_______________ that the sun (go)_______________ round the earth.

49. I know he (work)_______________ in a bank. He (take)_______________ the train to work every morning?

50. Every morning he (wake)_______________ up he (smell)____________ fresh coffee coming from the kitchen.


О.И. Поварго The English Language Grammar Practice Английский язык Практическая грамматика