Simple Present vs. Present Progressive

(a) Ann takes a shower every day.

(b) I usually eat lunch at the cafeteria.

(c) Babies cry.

(d) The earth revolves around the sun.

(e)A square has four equal sides.

(f)The sky is blue.

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

The simple present expresses general statements of fact as in (c) and (d). Put simply, the simple present is used for events or situations that exist always, usually, or habitually in the past, present, and future.

(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.

The present progressive expresses an activity that is in progress. The event is occurring, is happening right now. The event is in progress at the time the speaker is saying the sentence. The event began in the past, is in progress now, and will probably continue into the future.

FORM: am, is, are + verb + ing.

Forms of the Simple Present and Present Progressive

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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