The present continuous tense is one of the continuous tenses in English. (Continuous tenses are: present continuous, past continuous, and future continuous.)
The present continuous (also called "present progressive") tense mainly describes actions that are in progress at the time of speaking.
Forms[change | change source]
Affirmative sentences[change | change source]
Affirmative sentences in the present continuous are formed using verb be (am / is / are) + base verb-ing.
- I am eating.
- She is eating.
- He is eating.
- It is eating.
- We are eating.
- You are eating.
- They are eating.
The short forms 'm, 's, 're can be used in informal situations and in speech.
Negative sentences[change | change source]
Negative sentences are formed by adding not (or the short form n't) to the verb be.
- I am not eating.
- She isn't eating.
- He is not eating.
- It is not eating.
- We aren't eating.
- You are not eating.
- They aren't eating.
Questions[change | change source]
Yes / No question are formed using Verb be (Am / Is /Are) + subject + base verb-ing.
Wh-questions begin with one of the wh-question words.
(Wh-question words are: what, where, when, why, who, which, whose, how.)
- Am I eating your pizza?
- Are you having fun?
- Is she sleeping now?
- Is it raining outside?
- Why is she crying?
- When are they coming?
Uses[change | change source]
Present continuous verbs are used to describe the following situations.
Actions happening now or around now[change | change source]
- I am fixing the broken chair right now.
- The baby is sleeping at the moment.
- She is taking a course in Spanish this semester.
Future actions[change | change source]
- We are getting married soon.
- He is seeing the dentist in the afternoon.
- They are moving to their new apartment next month.
Repeated actions[change | change source]
Adverbs like always are used in this structure to imply that the speaker is irritated or annoyed by the action, or that the action was unplanned or unexpected.
- She is always complaining about her children.
- He is forever losing his keys.
- I'm always meeting her in the hallway.
Changing or developing actions[change | change source]
- Prices are rising these days.
- Her hair is growing very fast.
- Nowadays, more people are using social media to promote their businesses.
Non-continuous verbs[change | change source]
Non-continuous (or state verbs) are a group of verbs that describe state rather than action. They are not used in the continuous form. Instead, the present simple tense is used instead.
- I don't understand these formulas.
- They know what has to be done.
- I believe we should revise the plans. (NOT am believing)
Some verbs can be used as state verbs and action (or dynamic) verbs, but with different meanings.
- The chef is tasting the food. (action verb)
- The food tastes great. (NOT is tasting; state verb)
- She is looking at you. (action verb)
- It looks gorgeous! (NOT is looking; state verb)
- I'm having lunch with my sisters. (action verb)
- I have two sisters. (NOT am having; state verb)