During one of my recent English lessons I have faced some problems with the strong understanding when to use the present simple or the present continuous. There are some examples of what I have met and what I've been puzzled by further.

  1. "Aren't you reading newspapers?" I want to express the thought that some important political events are taking place in a state at the moment, and in spite of this somebody aren't reading newspapers. So a person who asks is surprised. Is this phrase grammatically correct?

  2. "The only reason you feel ashamed about having psychological problems is because you imagine that no one else is having problems". I wonder why the author uses the present continuous form in the phrase. They mean that somebody is having problems at the moment, not in general? Or that this is some kind of a process, of an action in progress?

  3. "Are you enjoying every day of your life?" The most complicated example for me. Why is the present continuous form chosen? Is there some kind of a process again? And isn't this a mistake to use the present simple form? Is there any difference in meaning?

I'll be very grateful for all the explanations.

2 Answers 2


Number one it would make more sense to say

Haven't you been reading the newspaper?

This is because

"Aren't you reading newspapers?"

means that the asker is wondering why the person is not reading multiple newspapers at the same time right now. "Haven't you been reading the newspaper?" is asking why the person hasn't been reading the news recently, which I believe is what you are asking.

Number two, from this link, the present continuous is used:

  • To describe an action that is going on at this moment: You are using the Internet. You are studying English grammar.
  • To describe an action that is going on during this period of time or a trend: Are you still working for the same company? More and more people are becoming vegetarian.
  • To describe an action or event in the future, which has already been planned or prepared: We're going on holiday tomorrow. I'm meeting my boyfriend tonight. Are they visiting you next winter?
  • To describe a temporary event or situation: He usually plays the drums, but he's playing bass guitar tonight. The weather forecast was good, but it's raining at the moment.
  • With always, forever, or constantly, to describe and emphasize a continuing series of repeated actions: Harry and Sally are always arguing! You're constantly complaining about your mother-in-law!

In this case, #1 (action going on right now) is most likely.

Finally, for number three, it's a bit harder to tell because there isn't much context, but I'd say #2 from the list (action going on in a period of time).

I hope that helps.


To add to the excellent answer above: "do you enjoy every day of your life?" would mean do you enjoy life in general, are you a happy person? Not just temporarily, like at this time in your life, but always.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .