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The Present Continuous Tense - When to use

1. We use the Present Continuous Tense to talk about activities happening now.

The kids are watching TV.
I am sitting down, because I am tired.
I am not learning German, because this is an English class.
Who are you writing to?

2. We can also use the Present Continuous Tense to talk about activities
happening around now, and not necessarily this very moment.

Sally is studying really hard for her exams this week.
I am reading a really interesting book now.
How are you brushing up on your English for the trip?
We aren't working hard these days.

3. The Present Continuous Tense is also used to talk about activities happening
in the near future, especially for planned future events.

I am seeing my dentist on Wednesday.
Polly is coming for dinner tomorrow.
Are you doing anything tonight?
We aren't going on holiday next week.

Present Continuous - Practice

What uses of the Present Continuous Tense do these sentences have?

1. I am playing football tonight.

2. I can't play with you now. I am finishing my homework.
3. Where are you studying?
4. What are you doing these days? Working?
5. Sally is taking a bath.
6. What are you doing at the weekend?
7. Peter and Mary are going out. They met at Adam's party last week.

Forming the Present Continuous Tense

The present continuous tense (also called the present progressive tense) is
commonly used in English for actions happening right now, or in the future.
This page will explain the rules for forming the tense with regular verbs.

Forming the present continuous tense

This tense is formed using two components: the verb BE (in the present
tense), and the -ING form of a verb. Here are the rules, using the example
verb "sing":

Subject BE -ING FORM

I am singing

You are singing

He is singing

She is singing

It is singing

We are singing

They are singing

How to make the -ING form

With many verbs, the you can simply add -ING to the end of the verb.
However, with some verbs, you need to change the ending a little. Here are
the rules:
Verb ending How to make the
in... -ING form
swim -
1 vowel + 1 Double the consonant, swimming
consonant then add -ING hit - hitting
get - getting

come - coming
1 vowel + 1 Remove E, then add
lose - losing
consonant + E -ING
live - living

say - saying
[anything else] Add -ING go - going
walk - walking
If you would like more information on this topic, try one of the pages below.
When you are sure you understand clearly, you can click on "First exercise" to

In the present continuous tense, negative forms are made using NOT, and and
question forms are made by changing the word order of the sentence. This
page explains the rules.
Forming a negative
Negatives in the simple present are formed by adding not or n't after the verb

Positive Negative Contracted

sentence sentence negative
I am eating. I am not eating. I'm not eating.

You are not

You are working. You aren't working.

He is driving. He is not driving. He isn't driving.

She is not
She is teaching. She isn't teaching.

It is raining. It is not raining. It isn't raining.

We are not
We are reading. We aren't reading.

They are not

They are writing. They aren't writing.

Forming a question
Yes/no questions are created by moving the verb BE to the beginning of the
sentence. WH-questions are formed by moving the verb BE, and then adding
the WH- word. Here are the rules:

Statement Wh- question
I am eating. Am I eating? What am I eating?

You are crying. Are you crying? Why are you crying?

He is going. Is he going? Where is he going?

She is arriving. Is she arriving? When is she arriving?

It is sleeping. Is it sleeping? Why is it sleeping?

When are we
We are leaving. Are we leaving?