What Is Present Continuous Tense?
The present continuous (also called the present progressive) is a grammatical tense used in modern English that indicates an action is happening now and may continue into the future.
Present Continuous: Structure
Present Continuous: Negation
He is reading. → He is
Here, you can see the process of negation by adding 'not.' You can also see how contraction is done in negative form.
They are sleeping. → They are
With the exception of 'am not,' you can contract the other conjugated forms of 'be' (is, are) in the negative form.
Present Continuous: Questions
Here, you can see how to change an affirmative sentence into a question.
We are meeting at six. →
For 'wh questions,' we just put the question word at the front, then make the yes/no question. For example:
If you want to learn more about spelling rules of adding -ing to the base form of verbs, see here.
Present Continuous: Uses
Actions Happening Now
We can use the present continuous tense to talk about an action happening exactly now. It means that the action is in progress at the moment, and we are in the middle of an activity. And we are talking about it at the moment. For example:
In this example, we are referring to an action being done exactly at this moment.
We can use the present continuous tense to talk about an action that is taking place around now but not at the exact moment of speech. This means that the action has started some moments ago, it is still happening, and it probably continues happening some moments more. Check out the examples:
Here, we are referring to an action that is happening but not exactly at the moment of speaking.
We use the present continuous tense to talk about something which we think is temporary. A temporary thing does not remain the same in the long term of time. It means that it will change, but you are not sure when it changes. Here are the examples:
Ellen cannot come to the phone since she
As you can see, we are referring to an action being done at the moment but this action will not last forever.
Future Plans or Arrangements
We can use the present continuous tense to talk about an action or event in the future, which has already been planned. Whenever there is a firm plan, or the decision has been made in advance, you can use the present continuous tense. For example:
Here, we are asking someone about their firm plans for the future.
Changes and Trends
We use the present continuous tense to describe an action or a trend that is new and contrasts with a previous state. In this case, we are talking about something which is not the same as the previous types of its own family. Look at the examples:
What sort of music
These days most people
We use the present continuous tense to talk about something which is changing, growing, or developing. This means that the action is turning to another level or basis over time step by step. Check out the examples:
Here, we are referring to a rapid change that is being made.
We use present continuous tense with 'always, forever, constantly' to talk about something which happens, again and again, emphasizing a continuing series of repeated actions. Remember, in this case, the action happens regularly on a repeating basis and it continues at the same time. Remember, in this case, the speaker usually uses some adverbs such as 'always,' 'all the time,' etc. For example:
Here, we are referring to an action that keeps on happening all the time.
Story-telling and Narration
We can use the present continuous to talk about the past when we are telling a story. Telling a story is the same as summarizing something. For example:
The other day I
Remember, this sentence conveys a 'past tense.'
We can use the present continuous to talk about the past when summarizing a book, film, or play. There are different ways of summarizing a story, one of the common ways is to use the present continuous tense. For example:
One day when Alice
We can use the main verbs 'to be' and 'to have' in the 'continuous form' to refer to a special occasion. Remember we limited the structure by using the main verbs be and have. Check out the examples for more clarification.
In sport commentaries when the action is happening at the moment and it is in progress you can use the present continuous, however, it is usually followed by a present simple tense, or it follows a present simple tense. Look at the examples:
Here, we are talking about an action that is happening right now and at the moment of speaking and it probably will not last longer than the sentence itself.
When Not to Use Present Continuous Tense
We do not normally use the continuous with stative verbs (also called non-continuous verbs). These verbs are normally used in the simple form because they refer to states, rather than actions or progress. Some examples of these verbs are to have, to know, to want, to cost.
Present continuous tense is used when an action is in progress. Basically, it talks about actions that are happening now and probably will still happen in the future.
|Structure||subject + to be + gerund + complement or object.|
Present continuous is used to talk about:
- actions happening now
- future plans or arrangements
- changes and trends
- frequent actions
- story-telling and narration
- What Is Present Continuous Tense?
- Present Continuous: Structure
- Present Continuous: Negation
- Present Continuous: Questions
- When Not to Use Present Continuous Tense