English Grammar "Present Continuous Tense"

Blog Image

Forming the Present Continuous

The Present Continuous of any verb is composed of two parts - the present tense of the verb to be + the present participle of the main verb.

(The form of the Present Participle is: base+ing, e.g. talking, playing, moving, smiling)

Subjectto be+ base + ing
Subjectto be + not+ base + ing
Sheis not (isn't)talking
to be+ subject+ base + ing

Examples: TO GO, Present Continuous

I am goingI am not goingAm I going?
You are goingYou aren't going.Are you going?
He, she, it is goingHe, she, it isn't goingIs he, she, it going?
We are goingWe aren't goingAre we going?
You are goingYou aren't goingAre you going?
They are goingThey aren't goingAre they going?

Note: alternative negative contractions: I'm not going, you're not going, he's not going etc.

Functions of the Present Continuous

As with all tenses in English, the speaker's attitude is as important as the time of the action or event. When someone uses the Present Continuous, they are thinking about something that is unfinished or incomplete

The Present Continuous is used:

  • to describe an action that is going on at this moment: You are using the Internet. You are studying English grammar.
  • to describe an action that is going on during this period of time or a trend: Are you still working for the same company? More and more people are becoming vegetarian.
  • to describe an action or event in the future, which has already been planned or prepared: We're going on holiday tomorrow. I'm meeting my boyfriend tonight. Are they visiting you next winter?
  • to describe a temporary event or situation: He usually plays the drums, but he's playing bass guitar tonight. The weather forecast was good, but it's raining at the moment.
  • with "always, forever, constantly", to describe and emphasise a continuing series of repeated actions: Harry and Sally are always arguing! You're constantly complaining about your mother-in-law!

Course Image

Free English Placement Test

Check your Score - Try our Free English Quiz + Get a Free Bonus