Present Simple or Present Continuous?

The simple present tense is often confused with the present continuous tense. This page will explain when to use each one.

The simple present tense

The simple present tense is used for two main types of action:

Actions which happen regularly (every day, every week, etc.)
Things which do not often change (opinions, conditions, etc.)
Some examples will help to make this clearer:

Type of action
Young-Mi goes to class every day.
"Every day" is a habit.
It rains a lot in Vancouver.
This means that it rains often.
Santos always talks about his family.
"Always" means this is a habit.
Jerry spends Christmas with his parents.
This implies that he spends Christmas with his parents every year.
Bianca lives in Florida.
This is a state, because it doesn't change.
Jean-Paul has red hair.
Someone's hair colour doesn't usually change.
Martin likes chocolate.
When we like something, usually we will always like it.
Anna believes in God.
Beliefs and opinions are states. They don't often change.

The present continuous tense

The present continuous tense is used for two main types of action:

A temporary action happening now
Something which is going on right now (but it will stop in the future)
A definite plan for the future
Something we intend to do, usually in the near future
Here are some examples:

Type of action
Temporary action happening right now
John is winning the game.
Right now, John is winning, but the game isn't finished yet.
It's raining outside.
It's raining right now (but it may stop soon).
Soraya's working in the library.
She's working there right now.
Sihol is spending Christmas with his family.
He's spending Christmas with his family right now, this year. (Maybe next year he won't.)
Definite plan for the future
I'm playing soccer tomorrow.
This plan is already arranged and definite.
Sarah's leaving for San Francisco on Friday.
She has probably already bought her ticket.
The Olympics are taking place here next year.
This is already certain.
I'm having a party next week.
All the plans have been made.