We use the Present Simple
- for regular actions or events
I watch TV most evenings.
The sun rises in the east
- facts know about the future
The plane leaves at 5.00 in the morning.
- thoughts and feelings about the time of speaking
I don't understand.
We use the Present Continuous
- at the time of speaking ('now')
I'm watching a movie on TV.
- things which are true at the moment but not always
I'm looking for a new job.
- present plans for the future
I'm taking my husband to New York for his birthday.
Look at these sentences:
- I usually don't drink coffee but I'm having one this morning because there is nothing else.
- I often drive to work but I'm taking the train this morning because my car is in for repair.
- I'm thinking about dying my hair blonde but I don't think my wife will be very happy about it.
- My parents live in New York but I'm just visiting.
Notice how in all these examples we use the present continuous to talk about events which are temporary/limited in time and the present simple to talk about events which are habits/permanent.
Click here for an exercise
Return to List of Grammar Lessons