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Present Continuous

FORM Present Continuous

[AM / IS / ARE] + [VERB+ing]


I am watching TV.

He is quickly learning the language.

NOTE: When you are using a verb tense with more than one part
such as Present Continuous (is learning), adverbs often come
between the first part and the second part (is quickly learning).

USE 1 Now

Use the Present Continuous with Continuous Verbs to express the

idea that something is happening now, at this very moment. It can
also be used to show that something is not happening now.


You are learning English now.

You are not swimming now.

I am sitting.

I am not standing.

They are reading their books.

They are not watching television.

What are you doing?

Why aren't you doing your homework?

USE 2 Longer Actions in Progress Now

In English, now can mean "this second," "today," "this month,"

"this year," "this century" and so on. Sometimes we use the
Present Continuous to say that we are in the process of doing a
longer action which is in progress; however, we might not be
doing it at this exact second.

EXAMPLES: (All of these sentences can be said while eating

dinner in a restaurant.)

I am studying to become a doctor.

I am not studying to become a dentist.

I am reading the book Tom Sawyer.

I am not reading any books right now.

Are you working on any special projects at work?

Aren't you teaching at the University now?

USE 3 Near Future

Sometimes, speakers use the Present Continuous to indicate that

something will or will not happen in the near future.


I am meeting some friends after work.

I am not going to the party tonight.

Is he visiting his parents next weekend.

Isn't he coming with us tonight

USE 4 Repetition and Irritation with "Always"

The Present Continuous with words such as "always" or

"constantly" expresses the idea that something irritating or
shocking often happens. Notice that the meaning is like Simple
Present but with negative emotion. Remember to put the words
"always" or "constantly" between "be" and "verb+ing."


She is always coming to class late.

He is constantly talking. I wish he would shut up.

I don't like them because they are always complaining.

IMPORTANT Non-Continuous Verbs/ Mixed Verbs

It is important to remember that Non-Continuous Verbs cannot be

used in any "continuous" tenses. Also, certain "non-continuous"
meanings for Mixed Verbs cannot be used in "continuous" tenses.
To express the idea of "happening now", you must use Simple
Present USE 3.


She is loving chocolate. Not Correct

She loves chocolate. Correct

ACTIVE / PASSIVE Present Continuous


Right now, Tom is writing the letter. ACTIVE

Right now, the letter is being written by Tom. PASSIVE


The simple present tense is often confused with the present

continuous tense. This page will explain when to use each one.

The simple present tense

The simple present tense is used for two main types of action:

Actions which happen

Habits regularly (every day,
every week, etc.)

Things which do not

States often change (opinions,
conditions, etc.)
Some examples will help to make this clearer:

Type of action Examples Explanations

Young-Mi goes to "Every day" is a
class every day. habit.
It rains a lot in This means that it
Vancouver. rains often.
Santos always talks "Always" means this
Habit about his family. is a habit.
This implies that he
Jerry spends
spends Christmas
Christmas with his
with his parents
every year.
This is a state,
Bianca lives in
because it doesn't
Someone's hair
Jean-Paul has red
colour doesn't
usually change.
State When we like
Martin likes something, usually
chocolate. we will always like
Beliefs and opinions
Anna believes in
are states. They
don't often change.

The present continuous tense

The present continuous tense is used for two main types of action:

Something which is going

A temporary action
on right now (but it will
happening now
stop in the future)

Something we intend to
A definite plan for the
do, usually in the near
Here are some examples:
Type of action Examples Explanations
Right now, John is
John is winning the
winning, but the game
isn't finished yet.
It's raining right now
It's raining outside.
(but it may stop soon).
Temporary action Soraya's working in She's working there
happening right the library. right now.
now He's spending
Sihol is spending Christmas with his
Christmas with his family right now, this
family. year. (Maybe next year
he won't.)
I'm playing soccer This plan is already
tomorrow. arranged and definite.
Sarah's leaving for She has probably
San Francisco on already bought her
Friday. ticket.
The Olympics are
Definite plan for
taking place here This is already certain.
the future
next year.
I'm having a party All the plans have been
next week. made.

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