There is the sentence:

Do you usually cook at weekends?

Can i use present continuous?

Are you usually cooking at weekends?

I found this example of using present continuous on internet.

  • At nine o’clock they are usually having breakfast.

  • When she gets home from work, her children are already sleeping.

I was taught when it happens usually we use present simple.

  • All of those variations are fine. – Jason Bassford Jan 25 '19 at 21:41
  • One of the first things one learns in English is how to use simple present. You might want to look that up. – Lambie Jul 12 '20 at 14:10

The two sentences have slightly different meanings to do with the circumstances in which they might be asked.

Are you usually cooking at weekends? makes sense as a question to someone who might be expected to spend the whole of every weekend cooking, such as a part-time chef or someone who loves to cook but has to do other work during the week. Consider 'I am usually working on Tuesdays'. That implies that work is the major activity on Tuesdays.

Do you usually cook at weekends? does not suggest that cooking is the predominant weekend activity. A husband, whose wife cooks meals during the week, might wish to cook for her at weekends. The question 'Do you usually work on Tuesdays?' could be downright insulting - especially if asked by one's boss.

  • The question 'Do you usually work on Tuesdays?' could be downright insulting. Not necessarily. "Do you usually work on Tuesdays?" "No, Tuesday is my day off, but this week I am working on Tuesday, because I need to finish something before Wednesday". – anouk Mar 7 '20 at 15:32

I met this sentence in book English FIle(3rd edition) pre-intermediate Student's book Christina Latham-Koenig Clive Oxenden Paul Seligson Oxford, And exercise was:

Commplete the sentences with present simple or present continuous:
 6A ______ you usually ____ at weekends?(cook)
 6B No,we normally ____ out()eat

Answer key is :

Do you usually cook at weekends?
No,we normally eat out.
  • Gotta say, we aways say "on the weekends" or "over the weekends" because "weekends" are not a location. – user45266 Jan 27 '19 at 21:06

For the "Do you usually cook at weekends", 'on' the weekends specifies the resular occurence of the action which is a great sign to use simple present. For the other example of breakfast at 9 o'clock, the correct tense to use is also the simple present. For the last example, I ask you to have these 2 structures in mind:

while + continuous tense, simple tense.
when + simple tense, continuous tense.

  • It is actually acceptable to use the present continuous in the breakfast at 9:00 example. – Rykara Jan 25 '19 at 19:58
  • At weekends is perfectly acceptable in UK English. It's only in US English that on weekends would be more common. – Jason Bassford Jan 25 '19 at 21:39
  • @rpeinhardt can you elaborate why? – Travis_h Jan 28 '19 at 12:32
  • @trav because if you use the simple present, then the activity (breakfast) is described as starting at 9:00. (They usually have breakfast at 9:00). But if you use the present continuous, the action is described as continuing at 9:00, meaning that, by the time in question, the eating had already started. (They are usually having breakfast at 9:00). – Rykara Jan 28 '19 at 16:03

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.