* For the general present, general truths, and habitual actions, you use the present simple (`I walk’).
* For something which is happening now, or for temporary situations, you use the present continuous (`I am walking’).
1 If you are talking about the present in general, you normally use the present simple tense. You use the present simple for talking about the general present including the present moment.
My dad works in Saudi Arabia.
He lives in the French Alps near the Swiss border.
2 If you are talking about general truths, you use the present simple.
Water boils at 100 degrees centigrade.
Love makes the world go round.
The bus takes longer than the train.
3 If you are talking about regular or habitual actions, you use the present simple.
Do you eat meat?
I get up early and eat my breakfast in bed.
I pay the milkman on Fridays.
4 If you are talking about something which is regarded as temporary, you use the present continuous.
Do you know if she’s still playing tennis these days?
I’m working as a British Council officer.
5 If you are talking about something which is happening now, you normally use the present continuous tense.
We’re having a meeting. Come and join in.
Wait a moment. I’m listening to the news.
6 There are a number of verbs which are used in the present simple tense even when you are talking about the present moment. These verbs are not normally used in the present continuous or the other continuous tenses. These verbs usually refer to:
thinking:believe forget imagine know realize recognize suppose think understand want wish
liking and disliking:admire dislike hate like love prefer
appearance:appear look like resemble seem
possession:belong to contain have include own possess
perception:hear see smell taste
being:be consist of exist
I believe he was not to blame.
She hates going to parties.
Our neighbours have two cars.
Note that you normally use verbs of perception with the modal `can’, rather than using the present simple tense.
I can smell gas.
Some other common verbs are not normally used in the present continuous or the other continuous tenses.
concern, deserve, fit, interest, involve, matter, mean, satisfy, surprise
What do you mean?
WARNING: Some of the verbs listed above can be used in continuous tenses in other meanings. For example, `have’ referring to possession is not used in continuous tenses. You do not say `I am having a car’. But note the following examples.
We’re having a party tomorrow.
He’s having problems with his car.
She’s having a shower.