Present Simple & Present Continuous Conversation Questions.


Present Simple Vs Present Continuous (Habitual Vs. Progressive)

We often ask about usual things with the present simple. We can use the present continuous to talk about things in progress at this moment or around this time.

Present SimplePresent Continuous
What kind of books do you usually read?What are you reading at the moment?
What type of TV series do you like?What series are you watching at the moment?
What type of books do you like?Are you reading anything at the moment?
Do you enjoy studying?What are you studying these days?
What type of clothes do you usually wear?What are you wearing right now?
What type of music do you usually listen to?What are you listening to at the moment?

This conversation exercise is part of a free pre-intermediate English grammar course. You can see all of our grammar courses here.

Present simple (for permanent states)

Ask and answer these questions with a partner or in groups. All of these questions can be answered with the present simple. Try to use adverbs of frequency and expressions of frequency where appropriate.

  • What is your name?
  • Where are you from?
  • How old are you?
  • Do you have any brothers or sisters?

Present Simple for Habitual Things (with adverbs & expressions of frequency).

  • How often do you…
    • Have a shower in the morning?
    • Watch a film in the evening?
    • get to work late?
    • Lose your wallet / keys / phone?
    • Eat take away food?
    • cook?
    • go to the gym?
    • go to the park?
    • see your friends?
    • play games? what type of games do you play?

Present Simple (for non-action verbs).

Some verbs, like want, need, believe or know are described as “non-action verbs” or “stative verbs” because they don’t describe actions, they describe states. We generally avoid these verbs in the continuous tenses and leave them in the simple tense.

  • Do you believe is ghosts?
  • Do you know anyone famous?
  • Do you need any help with anything at the moment?
  • What kind of music do you like?
  • Is there anything that you hate doing?

Present continuous (for things in progress).

All of these questions can be answered with the present continuous tense and all refer to things in progress at the moment. Ask and answer these questions with a partner or in groups. There are examples to help you start each answer.

  • Are you reading anything at the moment?
    • “At the moment, I’m reading….”
  • What (apart from English) are you studying at the moment?
    • “I’m studying…”
  • Are you watching any TV series at the moment?
    • “I’m watching…”
  • Are you doing anything at the moment that you don’t usually do?
    • “These days I’m ….”
  • What are you wearing today?
    • “Today I’m wearing….”
  • What are you thinking of doing this weekend?
    • “I’m thinking of…”

Present continuous (for plans & arrangements).

We can use the present continuous to talk about plans for the future. Use these example questions to start a conversation.

  • What are you doing after class?
  • What are you doing this weekend?
  • What are you eating tonight?
  • When are you going away on holiday next?