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The simple present expresses daily habits or usual activities, as in sentences (a) and (b) below.

(a)  Ann takes a shower every day.

(b)  I usually eat lunch at the cafeteria.

The simple present expresses general statements of fact as in sentences (c), (d), and (e) below.

(c)  The earth revolves around the sun.

(d)  A square has four equal sides.

(e)  The sky is blue.

Put simply, the simple present is used for events or situations that always exist, usually exist, or habitually exist in the past, present, and future.

However, the present progressive expresses an activity that is in progress. The action is happening right now. The present progressive is used when the action is in progress at the time the speaker is saying the sentence. The action began in the past, is in progress now, and will probably continue into the future.Here are some example sentences.

(g)  Ann can't come to the phone right now because she is taking a shower.

(h)  It's noon. I am eating lunch at the cafeteria right now.

(i)  Jimmy and Susie are babies. They are crying. I can hear them right now. Maybe they are hungry.

To form the present progressive use the to be verb + main verb + ing. For example, in the above sentences the verb talk becomes is talking (is + talk + ing), the verb take becomes is taking (is + take + ing), and the verb eat becomes is eating (is + eat + ing).

SIMPLE PRESENT PRESENT PROGRESSIVE
STATEMENT: {I-You-We-They} work.
{He-She-It} works.
I am working. *
{You-We-They} are working.
{He-She-It} is working.
NEGATIVE: {I-You-We-They} do not work. **
{He-She-It} does not work.
I am not working. {You-We-They} are not working. ** {He-She-It} is not working.
QUESTION: Do {I-you-we-they} work?
Does {he-she-it} work?
Am I working? Are {you-we-they} working?
Is {he-she-it} working?

* Contractions of pronouns with be: I'm, you're, we're, they're, he's, she's, it's.

** Contractions of verbs with not: don't, doesn't, aren't, isn't. (Note: am and not are not contracted.)

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