present cotinuous tense

The Present Continuous Tense

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The present continuous tense, also known as the present progressive tense, is used to describe actions that are happening at the moment of speaking or around the present time. It is formed using the present tense of the verb “to be” (am, is, are) and the present participle (the base form of the verb + -ing).

In this English grammar lesson, we learn how to form and how to use the present continous tense and do some practice exercises mixing it with the present simple tense. Let’s start now!

When we learn to use this tense, we should the 3 types of sentenses; positive, negative, and interrogative or questions.


  • Positive: Subject + am/is/are + present participle
    • I am eating.
    • She is studying.
    • We are working.
  • Negative: Subject + am not/isn’t/aren’t + present participle
    • I am not eating.
    • She isn’t studying.
    • We aren’t working.
  • Interrogative: Am/Is/Are + subject + present participle?
    • Am I eating?
    • Is she studying?
    • Are we working?

Now we know the form of the present continuous tense. Then let’s get to learn the usage of it. It is very important that we know how to use tenses as they are used to express the time (when) an action happens.

present continuous tense

Usage of present continuous tense:

We use the present continuous to talk about:

  1. Actions happening now:
    • Examples:
      • I am reading a book.
      • They are playing soccer.
      • She is writing an email.
  2. Temporary actions:
    • Examples:
      • He is staying with us for a week.
      • We are living in the city temporarily.
  3. Future plans or arrangements:
    • Examples:
      • I am meeting with my friends later.
      • They are traveling to Paris next week.
  4. Annoyance or irritation:
    • Examples:
      • She is always interrupting me.
      • It is raining, and I forgot my umbrella.
  5. Changes or developments:
    • Examples:
      • The company is expanding its operations.
      • The weather is getting colder.
You can also learn:   The Simple Present Tense

Remember that not all verbs can be used in the present continuous tense, and some verbs have different meanings when used in this tense. Additionally, there are certain expressions and adverbs that are often used with the present continuous to indicate the specific duration or context of the action. Examples include “at the moment,” “now,” “currently,” etc.

Verbs not used in present continuous tense

We cannot normally use some verbs (stative verbs) in the continuous form.

For example: agree, belong, cost, know, like, love, matter, mean, need, seem, understand, want.

We don’t use stative verbs (be, have, like, love, hate, want) in the present continuous tense.

Some verbs express a state – not an activity – and are usually used in the present simple only. For example: like, know, think, agree, understand, love. Let’s look at the examples below:

  • I like fruit. NOT I’m liking fruit.
  • She thinks she will leave soon. NOT She’s thinking she will leave soon.
    (she has an idea of leaving but not an action of thinking.)
  • He knows how to use a computer.

Practice using the present continuous tense with following exercises:

  1. She’s tired. She __________(want) to go home now.
  2. What _____ you ________ (do) now?
  3. Listen! Someone ___________ (knock) at the door.
  4. ______ they ______ (watch) T.V at the present?
    No, they _________ (listen) to the radio.
  5. We _________ (not want) to go to school at the moment. It’s very cold.

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You can also learn:   The Simple Present Tense
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My name's Ben Tran and I'm always called Teacher Ben Tran. I have been teaching English since 2008. I'm currently holding an M.A degree in TESOL granted by Westen Sydney University in Australia.

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