According to this page, it is okay to use present progressive to describe interrupted actions:

She is studying English five days a week.

But I know for expressing habits we should use simple present:

She studies English five days a week.

Are both examples means the same? If so, then we can extend this to other examples which it feels wrong to me. In example:

I am eating my food every day.

is the same as:

I eat my food every day.

What's the difference between these 2 examples? It seems we can use present progressive over simple present for describing "time-consuming habits" like eating, studying, watching a movie and so on, right?

  • I am eating my food every day implies you didn't eat regularly in the past, and/or you anticipate a future time when you might not. Plain I eat my food every day implies this has always been your habit (which you intend to stick with). Commented May 25, 2017 at 17:51

2 Answers 2


You can use simple present to express habitual action, and it's what most native speakers use, but remember to conjugate correctly:

She studies English five days a week.

(Not "She study English five days a week.")

Present progressive adds nothing more than a slightly elevated sense of immediacy.

We can clear up the difference by removing the time expression (drop "five days a week"—we'll do this because it blurs the distinction a bit).

So we have

She studies.


She is studying.

Both mean she performs this activity currently, but the present progressive can be used to emphasize that her studying is done right this very minute, whereas the simple present cannot.

Note that the present progressive doesn't have to mean the action is currently taking place. One can easily say

She is studying at Harvard.

when what she may be doing right this minute is going on a date or shopping or whatever.

  • Oops, you are right. But, what's the difference between She studies English five days a week and she is studying five days a week. Why the link suggests it's better to use simple progressive instead? Commented May 25, 2017 at 14:32
  • It's not better, it's just a nuance. If you want to express absolutely beyond doubt that the condition is current and continuing, use the present progressive. But no native speaker would have doubted that condition in the first place.
    – Robusto
    Commented May 25, 2017 at 14:41
  • Not quite the same as your Harvard example, one would normally distinguish She is living in England from She lives in England on the grounds that the latter much more strongly implies she's always lived there (correspondingly, the former implies she didn't in the past, and/or might not stay there in the future). Commented May 25, 2017 at 17:47

(As Robusto has already said) For a habitual action (one that always happens), most native speakers would use the simple present:

I drive to work. (I always drive to work)

I read books. (I have a habit of reading books)

For a habitual action that has recently become habit, or that will soon cease to be habit, the present progressive would be used (often with an explanation or time period, but not always):

I am driving to work at the moment, while my leg heals. (I don't usually drive to work, but I am at the moment)

I am reading a book about time travel. (The book I am currently reading is about time travel, not all books I read are about time travel, I don't necessarily have a habit of reading)

So therefore saying "She is studying English five days a week." implies that she doesn't always study English 5 days a week, but that she is at the moment.

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