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The Present Continuous / Progressive


driving

John is in his car. He is in his way to work.
 
He is driving to work
This means he is driving now: “at the time of speaking”
This is the present continuous.

The past continuous (progressive) tense

This page will present the present continuous:

  • its form
  • and its use.

You may also be interested by the past continuous

The form of the present continuous tense

The verb to be (in the simple present) verb + ing

The affirmative forms of the present continuous:

I
am eating.
’m
You, we, they are
’re
He, she, it is
's

The interrogative forms of the present continuous

Am I

eating?

Are you, we, they
Is he, she, it

The negative forms of the present continuous

I am not eating.
’m not
You, we, they are not
aren't
He, she, it is not
isn't

The use of the present continuous tense

present continuous

  • The present continuous is used to talk about actions happening at the time of speaking.

    Example:

    • Where is Mary? She is having a bath. (Not she has a bath)
    • What are you doing at the moment in front of your screen? Don't you know? Well … you are reading this lesson. You are learning English.
  • The present continuous can also be used when an action has started but hasn’t finished yet.

    Example:

    • I am reading a book; it’s a nice book. (It means = I am not necessarily reading it; I started reading it but I haven’t finished it yet

Special verbs

There are verbs which are normally not used in the present continuous.

Examples:

be, believe, belong, hate, hear, like, love, mean, prefer, remain, realize, see, seem, smell, think, understand, want, wish

It's not correct to say:

He is wanting to buy a new car.*

You must say:

He wants to buy a new car.

Exercises on the present continuous
Listen to the song "Sailing" by Rod Stewart.