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Present Continuous Tense – English Grammar

Sentence Structure

am/is/are + present participle (verb + -ing)

Examples:

  • She is watching TV.
  • Is she watching TV?
  • She is not watching TV.

USE 1 Now

Use the Present Continuous with Normal 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.

Examples:

  • You are learning English now.
  • You are not swimming now.
  • Are you sleeping?
  • I am sitting.
  • I am not standing.
  • Is he sitting or 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.

Examples:

  • 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."

Examples:

  • 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.

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. Instead of using Present Continuous with these verbs, you

must use Simple Present.

Examples:

  • She is loving this chocolate ice cream. Not Correct

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