The difference between present simple and continuous tenses

Posted on Feb 26 2015 - 6:59am by Zdenda

I have already created two posts on the difference between the present simple and continuous tenses. There are Present simple or present continuous tense – improved and Present simple and continuous tenses posts. Both of them are good but as I have come up with a new idea, I want to share it with you in this post.

This post concentrates on the difference between the tenses. If you are not sure about the form of the tenses, you should see the following posts first:

  1. Present simple tense
  2. Present continuous tense

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In this post there are just two activities: a worksheet and an interactive quiz. I hope that they will help you with teaching the difference between the tenses.

Present simple and continuous tense – worksheet

Hand out the following worksheet (students have to work in pairs; one will need worksheet A and the other worksheet B) and ask the students not to show their picture to their partner. Ask them to describe what the people, whose names they know, are doing. Their partner has to listen and complete their own picture by filling in the names.

In exercise 2 they should complete the sentences with the correct names.

When they finish, it is time to explain the difference between the tenses. The present continuous tense is used to describe what the people are doing right now. However, when the students have a look at the rooms in their pictures they will see several objects there. For example, in the kitchen there is a basketball. James is not playing basketball now, but he plays it sometimes and that is why the ball is there.
You can go on like this with three or four more pictures. Then ask the students to complete exercise 3.

In exercise 4, students should take the picture and speak about it for 60 seconds without stopping or hesitating. Will they manage?

In the last exercise, ask the students to turn the paper over and write 10 sentences about it.

Present simple and continuous tense – worksheet

Present simple and continuous tense – interactive quiz

The following interactive quiz is based on the picture in the worksheet. It is ideal for homework or for a class where everyone has a smart phone with an internet connection. The quiz is in HTML5 and therefore will work on all mobile devices.
In the quiz students will practise the grammar they’ve learnt in the worksheet.

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If you want to have the quiz on the full screen click the button below.
Present tenses – Full screen

Present simple and continuous tense – more practice

If you need more practice, you could try the following pages:

British Council page on present simple and continuous

Here are two useful videos:


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2 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. learn guitar 02/03/2015 at 4:56 am -

    Good day, Wonderful site, where did you come up with the info in this overview? Im thankful I found it though, I will be checking back soon to see what other blogs you have.

  2. Zdenda 04/03/2015 at 3:26 am -

    I have created it 🙂 I am really happy that you like it.

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