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There are two boys [] in the park. I was given a question to fill in the blanks. I assume the answer is playing.

But in what context should I be using present tense of the verb vs present participle?

Ans 1: play Ans 2: playing

1 Answer 1

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We use the present simple to talk about things that happen regularly, habitually, continually or things that are generally true

The two boys play in the park every saturday - regularly

The two boys usually play in the park - habitually

These two boys play in the village football team - continually

Boys play football - generally true

The continually and generally true usages don't work very well with play- see the link for better examples.

Compare that with are playing, which implies some continuous action that is taking place now:

There are two boys playing in the park

This means that, right now, two boys are in the park: they have been playing for a while, and it seems likely that they will continue to do so for a while.

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