Present Continuous (Progressive) is a present tense. We use Present Continuous to say what we are doing now:
Some more examples:
- I am reading a book.
- Antony is speaking.
- I am listening.
How to form Present Continuous
To make Present Continuous, we use:
am/is/are + ‘-ing’ form of the verb (Present Participle)
|I am working|
You are working
He/she/it is working
|We are working|
You are working
They are working
| Note: The verb ‘be’ (am/is/are) can be contracted:|
– I’m cooking right now.
– He’s reading a book at the moment.
– We’re going to the cinema tonight.
Spelling rules for verbs when adding ‘-ing’:
There are some rules to remember when adding the ‘-ing’ ending to verbs.
1. For most verbs, including those ending in ‘-y’, just add ‘-ing’:
- speak → speaking
- cook → cooking
- say → saying
- play → playing
2. For verbs with silent ‘-e’ at the end, drop the final ‘-e’ and add ‘-ing’:
- to choose → choosing
- to glide → gliding
3. For verbs with ‘-ie’ at the end, change ‘-ie’ to ‘-ying’:
- to tie → tying
- to lie → lying
4. For verbs with ‘consonant + vowel + consonant’ at the end and final syllable stressed, double the last consonant (except for ‘-x’ and ‘-w’) and add ‘-ing’:
- to for’get → forgetting
- to ‘swim → swimming
When to use Present Continuous
The Present Continuous tense is used to describe actions happening right now or around now.
Present Continuous is used to express:
1) actions taking place at the time of speaking
- I am reading a book at the moment.
- Where’s Bill? He’s talking to his friend.
2) actions taking place during present period (temporary situations)
- Some friends of mine are building their own house. They hope to finish it next summer.
- I’m living in London.
3) planned actions in the near future
- We are going to the cinema in 20 minutes.
- I’m meeting my father tomorrow.
4) personal traits or habits, usually with a negative meaning
- He is always shouting at me.
- You’re always losing your keys!
5) changes or trends taking place in present
- The population of the world is increasing very fast.
Let’s summarize the usages of Present Continuous:
Expressions of time
In Present Continuous, to show an ongoing action, we usually use the words like:
– now, at the moment, right/just now
– this afternoon/week/month, etc.
– today, tomorrow
– at present, these days, nowadays
– constantly, always
- We’re learning English now.
- She’s eating a lot of fish this week.
- You’re starting work tomorrow.
- She’s always coming to work late.
| Note: We don’t normally use state verbs in Present Continuous:|
Like Love Hate Want Know
– I don’t like westerns. (NOT:
– He knows Amsterdam well. (NOT:
Here’s a good video from AMES836 explaining how to use Present Continuous correctly: