Present Continuous

In this article, you will learn about the present continuous tense. You will learn when to use the present continuous tense and will see examples of the present continuous tense. The present continuous is sometimes referred to as the present progressive.

What Is The Present Continuous?

The present continuous is an English verb form that is used to describe an action that is or isn’t happening at the moment that the speaker is speaking. We also use the present continuous to describe an action in the near future. The present continuous is also known as the present progressive

Present Continuous Tense Form

The present continuous tense is formed with the present tense of the verb to be (am/is/are)and the present participle of the verb (base form of the verb + ing).

Positive Form:
SUBJECT + PRESENT TENSE OF THE VERB TO BE + BASE VERB + ING

Negative Form:
SUBJECT + PRESENT TENSE OF THE VERB TO BE + NOT + BASE VERB + ING

(verb to be + not = usually contracted in speech)

Present Continuous Examples

  • I am running. / I’m running.
  • She is watching TV. / She’s watching TV. 
  • They are living in Utah.  /  They’re living in Utah. 
  • I am not running. / I’m not running.
  • She is not watching TV. / She isn’t watching TV. 
  • They are not living in Utah.  /  They aren’t living in Utah.

When To Use The Present Continuous?

The present continuous is used to describe an action this is or isn’t happening at the time the speaker is speaking. The present continuous is also used to describe two or more events or actions happening at the same time. The present continuous can also be used to describe an action in the near future.

1. To describe an action this is or isn’t happening at the time the speaker is speaking.

  • Amy is sleeping.
  • Jeong Yeon isn’t carrying the box.

2. To describe two or more events or actions happening at the same time at the present time.

  • They are both driving to the party.
  • She is doing homework and I am reading.

3. To describe an action that will or will not happen in the near future.

  • I am flying to New York tomorrow.
  • He isn’t coming next week.

Present Continuous Passive

The present continuous passive tense is used to describe an action that is taking place at the time the speaker is speaking. The passive form leaves out the person or agent that is doing the action, placing the emphasis on the action or event.

Examples: 

  • Tom is being watched. (This sentence does not tell us who is watching Tom.) 
  • The group is being shown around the museum. (This sentence does not tell us who is showing the group around the museum.)

The structure for the present continuous passive is SUBJECT + VERB TO BE (AM/IS/ARE) + BEING + PAST PARTICIPLE.

Present Continuous For Future

The present continuous can also be used to talk about future arrangements or plans. Native English speakers often use the present continuous to describe future arrangements and using the tense (often) implies that at least one or more of the speakers knows about the arrangement and/or the arrangement is confirmed.

Examples: 

  • I am not going out tonight.
  • She is coming to visit in September.
  • We are making that for dinner tomorrow.

Present Continuous Questions

We can ask closed questions (questions requiring only a yes or no answer) with the present continuous and we can ask open questions (WH- questions) with the present continuous.

Closed Question / Yes, No Questions In The Present Continuous Form

Positive Form: VERB TO BE + SUBJECT + INFINITIVE + ING

  • Am I opening the school? 
  • Is she coming to the party?
  • Are they playing that game?

Negative Form: VERB TO BE + NOT + SUBJECT + INFINITIVE + ING

  • Am I not opening the school? (Not a common form)
  • Isn’t she coming to the party? (is + not = almost always contracted)
  • Aren’t they playing that game?  (are + not = almost always contracted)

WH- Questions In The Present Continuous Form

Positive Form: WH- + VERB TO BE + SUBJECT + INFINITIVE + ING

  • What am I doing?
  • Where is she going
  • What are they watching

Negative Form Examples:

  • Why isn’t she running?
  • Why aren’t they doing that?

What Are Continuous Verbs?

The continuous tense is used to show an action that is, was, or will be happening at a specific time in the present, past or future.

The continuous tense is formed with the appropriate tense of the verb to be and the present participle of the verb (base form of the verb + ing).  See the examples below.

Present continuous examples:

  • I am sleeping. / I’m sleeping.
  • She is eating popcorn. / She’s eating popcorn. 
  • They are making that.  /  They’re making that.

Past continuous examples:

  • I was sleeping.  / I was sleeping when you called.
  • She was eating popcorn.  / She was eating popcorn when they arrived. 
  • They were making that.  / They were making that when he walked in.

Future continuous examples:

  • I will be sleeping.  / I will be sleeping when you call.
  • She will be eating popcorn.  / She will be eating popcorn when they arrive. 
  • They will be making that.  / They will be making that when he walks in.

Do you have questions?

Which English course or school should I choose?
Do I need a visa to study English in the USA?
Can you help me with accommodation?
Our friendly Student Advisers will help you decide which option is best for you.
Start your journey today!

Click here to subscribe to our newsletter! #TurnYourLanguageOn


INSTANT
ANSWERS
INSTANT ANSWERS
WhatsApp at +1 (305) 417 3615
Call us at +1 (305) 424 9596