One English teacher told me that this sentence:

Usually, I am going to school.

is not correct, that the correct version would be to use the simple present:

Usually, I go to school.

Even though I trust authorities, I’d like to examine this further. Can you tell me, is it really true that using the present continuous in this case is wrong?

The Grammarly application is not complaining in this case.

  • 2
    Your teacher is correct. "I am going to school" indicates that you started going to school and are still going. "Usually, I go to school" implies that sometimes, you don't. You can't combine the two sentences, although they are not in themselves contradictory.
    – Mick
    Commented Nov 23, 2016 at 23:18
  • 1
    Usually I am sitting in this chair, scratching my head over odd questions.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Nov 23, 2016 at 23:52

2 Answers 2


Your teacher is right. However if you add a time expression at the end of it what we indicate is different. Compare;

I usually go to school at 9:00.

I am usually going to school at 9:00.

The first one tells us the action starts at 9:00.

The second one tells us the action started before 9:00 and you will be in the process of that action.

A: Can I call you at 7:00?

B: Umm I am usually (in the middle of) eating at that time so how about 8:00?

There is also "always" usage which means: doing something very often, too often, more than normal, which has a negative meaning. Never heard it being used without some kind of complaining actually.

I always drive to work. I do it every time.

I am always driving to work. I should ride a bike and save some money.

A few more examples;

You are always watching TV. Stop it and do something else!

My wife is always complaining. She never stops!

You are always playing video games! Go outside once in a while!


There is an explanation in Murphy's "English grammar in use" Unit 3:

We use simple for things in general or things that happen repeatedly:

What do you usually do at weekends?

So your teacher is correct.

  • 1
    What are you usually doing at 6PM on Wednesdays?
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Nov 23, 2016 at 23:54
  • 1
    @HotLicks - You can give your amusing exception. But it's so annoying to listen to your spouse misuse tenses in English over an over again. I'm voting for the simple, clear (slightly over-simplified) answer. Commented Nov 24, 2016 at 4:14
  • The OP asked "can you ever". There are many cases where you can. For instance, if he was asked "Where are you at 8AM weekday mornings?", his first example might be a perfectly valid reply.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Nov 24, 2016 at 17:56

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