Sometimes as teachers we take the present tenses for granted, especially with higher level students. However, as Parrot points out in his Grammar for English Language Teachers, students often have difficulties choosing the correct tense and tend to overuse the present simple.

That’s the reason why I created a series of timelines to visualise the differences between present simple and present continuous. Today I would like to share these with you, hoping they might be useful to your students as they seem to be to mine.

A small note before you download the timelines: I included both the present and future meaning of the present progressive, but did not include the more “advanced” meaning of changing and developing states (e.g. Nowadays people are eating more fast food) or repetitive actions (e.g. She’s always complaining about the food) as these timelines are aimed at elementary/intermediate students.

Here they are, both in pdf and open document format so that you can customise them as you prefer (but please keep the reference to my blog if possible):

present_tenses_timelines odt
present_tenses_timelines pdf

If you do use them, please let me know how and if you found them useful. Also, if you have any suggestions or improvements drop me a line.

Thanks!