Present simple vs present continuous: online exercises with answers
Try some present simple and present continuous exercises online to understand the difference between the present simple and present continuous forms in English. All exercises are with answers.
Present simple tense: grammar rules with examples
Positive statement: I play, He plays
Negative statement: I do not play (I don't play), He does not play (He doesn't play)
Questions: Do you play? Does he play?
Negative questions: Do you not play? (Don't you play?) Does he not play? (Doesn't he play?)
Passive voice: The game is played. The letters are written.
We only use -s ending (plays) and -es ending (does) in the third person singular.
The auxiliary verb do is not used to make questions and negative statements with modal verbs and the verb to be.
Are you a student? Is he in London? I am not at home. He is not happy. Can you sing? Must I come? I cannot swim. He mustn't stay.
If the wh- pronoun introducing the question (who, which) is the subject of the question, we do not use the auxiliary verb do. Compare the following sentences.
Who knows you? (who is the subject)
Which cars belong to you? (which cars is the subject)
But: Who do you know? (who is the object)
The negative questions normally express a surprise.
Doesn't he work?
We add -es to the verb that ends in ss, sh, ch, x and o: miss - misses, fix - fixes, go - goes.
If the verb ends in a consonant and -y we change -y into -i and add -es: carry - carries, try - tries.
But: play - plays, because it ends in a vowel and -y.
1. We use the present simple tense for activities that happen again and again (everyday, sometimes, ever, never).
Examples: I sometimes go to school by bike. You don't speak Greek. Do they get up early?
He often travels. She doesn't work. Does she ever help you?
2. We use it for facts that are always true.
Our planet moves round the sun. Lions eat meat.
3. With a future time expression (tomorrow, next week) it is used for planned future actions (timetables).
The train leaves at 8.15. They return tonight.
Present continuous tense: grammar rules with examples
Positive statement: I am playing, You are playing, He is playing
Negative statement: I am not playing (I'm not playing), You are not playing (You aren't playing), He is not playing (He isn't playing)
Questions: Are you playing? Is he playing?
Negative questions: Are you not playing? (Aren't you playing?) Is he not playing? (Isn't he playing?)
It is formed with the verb to be and the present participle (-ing ending). The negative questions normally express a surprise.
Isn't he working?
Passive voice: The game is being played. The letters are being written.
1. We use the present continuous tense for activities that are happening just now.
Examples: I am learning English at the moment. You aren't listening! Why is he sitting here?
2. We use it for an action happening about this time (today, this week), but not necessarily at the moment of speaking. It is a temporary activity.
I am in London. I am staying at the hotel. (But just now you can be somewhere else.)
She can't go out. She is writing her essay today. (But she can be having lunch at the moment.)
You can't borrow this book today. Mary is reading it. (But not right now.)
3. With a future time expression (soon, on Monday) it is used for definite arrangements in the near future. The present continuous tense is more personal than the simple present tense, because it expresses the speaker's plan.
I am leaving soon. We are meeting on Monday.
- If you prefer printable exercises in pdf on the simple present tense, have a look at Present simple exercises in pdf.
- You can also find some pdf materials to print at Present continuous exercises in pdf.
- If you are looking for a printable test (pdf worksheet) contrasting these two forms, go to Esl worksheets (see the bottom of the menu on the left).