This is the second part of the article about present simple and present continuous. Before reading the text below, you should know the basic information (you could find it here: Present simple and present continuous).

We use present continuous (mostly with words like always or similar) to express our annoyance and irritation that something happens too often or to say that we are sick and tired of it:

You are always making the same mistake.
We express our annoyance that you are doing this mistake too often.

She is borrowing money from me all the time!
The fact that she borrows money all the time annoyes me.

I wrote earlier, in the first part of the article, that the verb to be doesn’t normally occur in continuous tenses. There is one exception. If you want to say that someone behaves in certain, usually unusual or odd way at the moment, use the form being:

John is being very rude today.
This is unusual and temporary behaviour, usually John is polite.

I don’t know why she’s being so impatient. Can’t she wait for some time?
She is impatient at the moment, not always. Impatience isn’t her hallmark.


Sue is always very nice to me.
General statement.

Sue is being very nice to me today.
She usually isn’t nice to me, but she is kind now.

Present continuous can also be used to emphasize that we do something regularly at a particular time:

Don’t phone me at 8 o’clock. I’m driving to work then.
In this case we don’t focus on the fact that activity is performed every day (in that situation we would use present simple). We emphasize that at that time we are in the middle of some activity. The activity is in progress, so we use present continuous.

Verbs associated with the senses (smell, taste) may occur both in present sipme and present continuous, but the meaning isn’t the same:

This soup smells good.
smell as a static verb.

I’m smelling the soup.
smell as an active verb – we use our nose to smell the soup.

There is also a large group of verbs (eg think, consider, measure, weight, look, see, have) which can take both simple or continuous form and their meaning is different depending on the used tense, for example:

I think she’s a nice girl.
A statement.

I’m thinking of going abroad.
I’m considering the trip.

I weigh 80 kg.

I’m weighing all the needed ingredients.

Present simple is also used in newspaper headlines, news titles and descriptions of the plot of films or books:

Government introduces new tax.

Terrorists eventually give up.

In the first chapter the main character finds a mysterious room…

Both tenses are used together in jokes, stories, etc. Then the background of the event is described using the present continuous and a single event is described using the present simple:

John is walking home when, all of a sudden, a man come to him and punches him fair and square on the nose.

Scholes passes to Rooney and he scores a beautiful goal. The whole team is playing very good football today.