Present Continuous

The present continuous (or present progressive) is one of the tenses in English you can use to talk about the present. On this page, you have a clear overview of when you should use this tense and how you form it.

Present continuous (or present progressive) tense

You use this tense when you want to talk about an action that is going on in the present or when you want to stress the duration of an action. Below you can find an overview of different situations in which you use this tense.

An action that is going on

  • He is playing the guitar.

A long action where the focus is on the duration of this action

  • I am reading a book.

A temporary habit

  • Right now, she is smoking a lot more because of stress at work.

A trend that appears more and more, or less and less

  • More and more rich people are investing their money.
Present Continuous - Use

When you want to express irritation or anger about a repeated action. The speaker hates this action (words such as ‘always’ and ‘continuously’ are regularly used in this context)

  • I hate people who are always posting pictures of their food on Instagram.

To talk about plans and arrangements for the future

  • We are flying to Brussels tomorrow morning.

How to form the present continuous

Present continuous positive

To form the present continuous (or present progressive), you always need two parts. You need the present simple of ‘to be’ and you also need the ing-form of the main verb. You just add <ing> to the infinitive of the main verb.

If you want to make an affirmative sentence in the present continuous, you always need two parts: to be + ing-form of the main verb.

I am walking
You are walking
He, she, it is walking
We are walking
You are walking
They are walking

When the infinitive ends in <e>, you drop it and add <ing> to make the ing-form.

  • To write: I am writing.
Present Continuous - Form

Present continuous negative

To form the present continuous negative, you use ‘not’ and put it after the auxiliary verb.

I am not walking
You are not walking
He/she/it is not walking
We are not walking
You are not walking
They are not walking

Present continuous questions

If you want to form a question in the present continuous, you conjugate the auxiliary ‘to be’, followed by the subject of the sentence and the ing-form of the main verb.

Am I walking?
Are you walking?
Is he/she/it walking?
Are we walking?
Are you walking?
Are they walking?

Time indicators present continuous

If you have one of these words in a sentence, it’s usually an indication that you are dealing with a present continuous.

  • Now, at the moment


I am working
He is singing
I am not working
He is not singing
Am I working?
Is he singing?

Exercises about the present continuous

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