“I live” and “I’m living” can be used interchangeably to describe where one has made their home. However, we can imply or hint that something is long-term or temporary by using either the present simple or present continuous tense.

Overview
I liveI’m living
Long term or permanentShort-term or temporary

Permanent or Temporary?

Using the present simple implies something long-term or permanent, whereas the present continuous implies something short-term or temporary.

  • Present simple: I live in Australia.”
    This implies a sense of permanency. (This is where I call home.)
  • Present continuous:I’m living in Australia.”
    This implies a temporary situation. (I’m here for a few years.)
  • Present simple: I work for the government.”
    This implies the job is long term. (I would like to retire from this company.)
  • Present continuous: I’m working for the government.”
    This implies the job is short term. (I’m not sure if I want to work here for the rest of my life.)
* Please note: It’s not always clear if temporary situations are planned.

When it comes to using the present continuous tense, the listener may not always know if the temporary situation is a plan or a feeling.

Temporary situation:I’m living in Australia.”

Plan:I’m living in Australia, but I’m moving to Japan to teach English next year.”

Feeling:I’m living in Australia, but I’d like to try living in a different country in the future.”


See also:
Tense: Present simple
Tense: Present continuous


Original posts: 3 September 2018

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