Present Continuous Tense

The continuous and progressive aspects (abbreviated CONT and PROG) are grammatical aspects that express incomplete action in progress at a specific time: they are non-habitual, imperfective aspects. It is a verb category with two principal meaning components: (limited) duration and (possible) incompletion. Most languages treat continuous and progressive aspects as alike and use the two terms interchangeably, but there are languages that distinguish them. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Present_continuous)


The Present Continuous which is also known as present progressive is used to tell actions going on at the moment of speaking and for actions taking place only for a short period of time. It is also used to express development and actions arranged for the near future. The present progressive emphasizes on the course or the duration of an action.

The Patterns

Affirmative

Subject+be (am,is,are)+ Verb-ing (present participle) ——>> I am doing ….

Negative

Subject+ be(am,is,are)+not+Verb-ing —->> I am not doing ….

Interrogative

Be (am,is,are) + Subject +Verb-ing —->> Are you doing ….?

Note: The conjugation of the auxiliary verb “to be” and the subject pronoun is as follow:

Person

Singular

Plural

First

I am

We are

Second

You are

You are

Third

He/she/it is

They are

Time Signals

The time signals usually used with Present Continuous Tense among others are at the moment, now, right now, at the present time, at the time being, etc.

The Uses

Present Continuous Tense is used to express:

1. present actions;

The most frequent use of present continuous tense is to talk about actions happening at the time of speaking.

Examples:

  • I am writing an article at the moment.
  • Jean is listening to her favorite music.
  • The diligent student is now reviewing his lesson.

2. temporary actions;

Present Continuous Tense is also used for activities that ongoing only for a limited period of time.

Examples:

  • She is going on foot to school since her bicycle is broken. Temporary Action (The bicycle will be repaired soon)
  • We are not eating during fasting. Temporary Action (We will soon eat when the breaking time comes)

3. Longer actions in progress;

The next function of Present Continuous Tense is to tell something which is time-consuming (something that needs time to complete). The examples of such activities are writing a book, saving money or studying for an exam.

Examples:

  • My father is working hard to earn money.
  • The writer is now writing a book about cooking recipe.
  • George is studying for his final semester test.

4. Future plans;

We also can use the Present Continuous to show that something is planned and will be done in the near future.
Examples:

  • Our big family are having family gathering next Sunday.
  • I’m flying to Seoul in September.
  • She’s not going anywhere tonight.

5. Tendencies and trends;

Tendencies or trends also can be expressed with Present Continuous Tense.

Examples:

  • The rich is getting richer.
  • Internet is becoming more popular.
  • The Universe is expanding.

6. Irritation.

We can express irritation or anger over somebody or something in the present with adverbs such as always, continually or constantly; as well.

Examples:

  • The spoiled girl is continually complaining about everything!
  • He is always asking unnecessary questions!
  • The boss is constantly critising his secretary!

Check the 16 English Tenses you want to study more below!

Present

Past

Future

Past Future

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