Present Simple And Present Continuous – Which? When? Why?

As you can find written everywhere, the present simple are repetitive actions or general states, and the present continuous refers to actions taking place now or around now.
There are cases, however, when both look right. Is that possible and is there any difference? Here I will look at a few pairs of sentences and the differences between them:

I have a shower.
I am having a shower.
Both are correct. The first sentence means "I own a shower", as opposed to "I have a bathtub in my bathroom." The second sentence means "I am taking a shower at the moment."

Here you need to pay attention to the two different meanings of the verb "have". In the meaning of "own, possess", it is a stative verb and cannot be used in the continuous. That is why I might have a bicycle right now, but I will still say I have a bike and not I am having a bike.
When the same verb is used in the continuous, that means it is used with a different meaning, as in: I am having a beer, where it means "to drink".
Similar examples:
He looks bored. (meaning 'seems')
I am looking at you.

A list of stative verbs 1
A list of stative verbs 2, with examples

I live with my parents.
I am living with my parents.
Again, both can be correct. In the first case I generally live with them, but in the second it is something temporary, for example I am living with them while my flat is being redecorated.
Likewise, you can say:
I start work around 9 so I always get up about 8 a.m. However, this month I have to be at work before 7:30 so I am getting up at 6.

She always interrupts people.
She is always interrupting people!
Both point to the same action. The difference here is the nuance in the use of the continuous; it expresses annoyance. The first sentence does not convey a specific emotion, it describes a fact. The second one shows that this fact is unpleasant.
A further example:
He constantly loses his scarves, so he wears a new one every time I see him.
You are constantly losing things! I can’t buy you a new one every time!

More exercises

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