Present Continuous and Present Simple

Do these sentences mean the same thing?

On idzie do sklepu.

On (zawsze) chodzi do sklepu.

Which sentence tells you that somebody is walking to the shop right now, at the moment you are speaking? How do you know?

Which sentence tells you that somebody walks to the shop regularly, but that he isn’t walking to the shop right now, at the moment you are speaking? How do you know?

In Polish, you sometimes use a different verb to show the difference between something somebody is doing right now and something which somebody does regularly.

Do these sentences mean the same thing?

On czyta gazetę.

On często czyta gazetę.

Which sentence tells you that somebody is reading a newspaper right now, at the moment you are speaking? How do you know?

Which sentence tells you that somebody reads a newspaper regularly, but that he isn’t reading a newspaper right now, at the moment you are speaking? How do you know?

In Polish, you sometimes add an adverb to show the difference between something somebody is doing right now and something which somebody does regularly.

In English, we don’t have to use a different verb or add an adverb to show the difference between ‚right now’ and ‚regularly’. We use the same verb, but use two different aspects – continuous and simple.

In Polish, you don’t always see it as important to show the difference between ‚right now’ and ‚regularly’. If it’s necessary, you can show the difference by using a different verb or an adverb or you can use the context of the situation to decide on the meaning.

In English, we always show the difference by using the simple or continuous aspect.

Using the examples from earlier we would write:

He is walking to the shop. – On idzie do sklepu.

He walks to the shop. – On (zawsze) chodzi do sklepu.

He is reading a newspaper. – On czyta gazetę.

He reads a newspaper. – On zawsze czyta gazetę.

Notice that we can add an adverb if we want to say how often something happens, but this isn’t necessary.

He often reads a newspaper. – On często czyta gazetę.

He sometimes reads a newspaper. – On czasami czyta gazetę.

 

Present Continuous answers the question: Co robisz (w tej chwili)?

Present Simple answers the questions: Co robisz (ogólnie, regularnie)? and Jak często …?