present continuous (I am doing) present simple (I do) We use the continuous for things happening at or around the time of speaking. The action is not complete.
- The water is boiling. Be careful.
- Listen to those people. What language are they speaking?
- Let’s go out. It isn’t raining now.
- ‘I’m busy.’ ‘What are you doing?’
- I’m getting hungry. Let’s go and eat.
- Kate wants to work in Italy, so she’s learning Italian.
- The population of the world is increasing very fast.
We use the continuous for temporary situations (things that continue for a short time):
- I’m living with some friends until I find a place of my own.
- a: You’re working hard today. b: Yes, I have a lot to do.
See Present Continuous for more information.
present simple (I do)
We use the simple for things in general or things that happen repeatedly.
- Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius.
- Excuse me, do you speak English?
- It doesn’t rain very much in summer.
- What do you usually do at weekends?
- I always get hungry in the aft ernoon.
- Most people learn to swim when they are children.
- Every day the population of the world increases by about 200,000 people.
We use the simple for permanent situations (things that continue for a long time):
- My parents live in London. They have lived there all their lives.
- Joe isn’t lazy. He works hard most of the time.
I always do and I’m always doing
I always do something = I do it every time:
- I always go to work by car. (not I’m always going)
I’m always doing something = I do it too oft en or more oft en than normal. For example:
I’m always losing them = I lose them too oft en, or more oft en than normal.
- Paul is never satisfied. He’s always complaining. (= he complains too much)
- You’re always looking at your phone. Don’t you have anything else to do?
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