Present continuous (I am doing)

Use the continuous for something that is happening at or around the time of speaking. The action is not finished.

Present continuous (I am doing) - English Grammar - Present Continuous and Present Simple - Part 1

Present simple (I do)

Use the simple for things in general or things that happen repeatedly.

Present simple (I do) - English Grammar - Present Continuous and Present Simple - Part 1

Compare the following examples:

  • The water is boiling. Can you turn it off?
The water is boiling. Can you turn it off? - English Grammar - Present Continuous and Present Simple - Part 1
The water is boiling. Can you turn it off?

 

  • Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius.
Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius. - English Grammar - Present continuous and present simple - Part 1
Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius.

 

  • Listen to those people. What language are they speaking?
Listen to those people. What language are they speaking? - English Grammar - Present continuous and present simple - Part 1
Listen to those people. What language are they speaking?

 

  • Excuse me, do you speak English?
Excuse me, do you speak English? - English Grammar - Present continuous and present simple - Part 1
Excuse me, do you speak English?

 

  • Let’s go out. It isn’t raining now.
Let’s go out. It isn’t raining now. - English Grammar - Present continuous and present simple - Part 1
Let’s go out. It isn’t raining now.

 

  • It doesn’t rain very much in summer.
It doesn’t rain very much in summer. - English Grammar - Present continuous and present simple - Part 1
It doesn’t rain very much in summer.

 

“Don’t disturb me. I’m busy.”  “Why? What are you doing?”

“Don’t disturb me. I’m busy.” “Why? What are you doing?” - English Grammar - Present continuous and present simple - Part 1
“Don’t disturb me. I’m busy.” “Why? What are you doing?”

 

  • What do you usually do at weekends?
What do you usually do at weekends? - English Grammar - Present continuous and present simple - Part 1
What do you usually do at weekends?

 

  • Lisa is in New York at the moment. She’s learning English.
Lisa is in New York at the moment. She’s learning English. - English Grammar - Present continuous and present simple - Part 1
Lisa is in New York at the moment. She’s learning English.

 

  • Most people learn to swim when they are children.
Most people learn to swim when they are children. - English Grammar - Present continuous and present simple - Part 1
Most people learn to swim when they are children.

 

Use the continuous for a temporary situation:

  • I’m living with some friends until I find an apartment.
I’m living with some friends until I find an apartment. - English Grammar - Present continuous and present simple - Part 1
I’m living with some friends until I find an apartment.

 

Use the simple for a permanent situation:

  • My parents live in Toronto. They have lived there all their lives.
My parents live in Toronto. They have lived there all their lives. - English Grammar - Present continuous and present simple - Part 1
My parents live in Toronto. They have lived there all their lives.

 

I always do and I’m always doing

Usually we say “I always do something” (= I do it every time):

  • I always go to work by car. (not “I’m always going”)
I always go to work by car. - English Grammar - Present continuous and present simple - Part 1
I always go to work by car.

 

You can also say “I’m always doing something”, but this has a different meaning. For example:

  • I’ve lost my keys again. I’m always losing things.
I’ve lost my key again. I’m always losing things. - English Grammar - Present continuous and present simple - Part 1
I’ve lost my keys again. I’m always losing things.

“I’m always losing things” does not mean that I lose things every time. It means that I lose things too often, more often than normal.

You’re always -ingmeans that you do something very often, more often than the speaker thinks is normal or reasonable.

  • You’re always watching television. You should do something more active.
You’re always watching television. You should do something more active. - English Grammar - Present continuous and present simple - Part 1
You’re always watching television. You should do something more active.

 

  • Jack is never satisfied. He’s always complaining.
Jack is never satisfied. He’s always complaining. - English Grammar - Present continuous and present simple - Part 1
Jack is never satisfied. He’s always complaining.