Present Continuous Tense in English

Present Continuous Tense with Examples

Present Continuous Tense is the tense that helps us talk about what is going on right now. Present Continuous Tense is also known as the Present Progressive Tense.

Let’s take a look at the time line below and understand where to use this Tense.


timeline english grammar learning tenses

What are you doing right now?

    I am eating an ice cream.

What is happening outside?

    A tree is falling.

Tense of a sentence is defined by its verb. Did you notice the verbs of above example sentences? The verbs are underlined there. Let’s list them down and analyze how the verb forms are used.

  • am eating
  • is falling.

As you can see, there are two parts to the complete verb.

  • am + eating
  • is + falling

Part 01 - First part of the verb is made up of one of the “be verbs” in the present tense. i.e. am, is, are. Here they are called “Helping verbs” because they help the other incomplete verb (Present Participle form of the main verb) to stand strong in the sentence.

Part 02 - The second part of the verb is made up of the “ing form” of the main verb. This verb form is also known as the “Present Participle form of the verb. It is an incomplete verb form. It cannot stand alone in a sentence as a complete verb.

eg :
  • go – going
  • eat – eating
  • work – working
  • run - running

Verbs used in Present Continuous Tense

Type of verb Singular Plural
Helping verbs am
is
are
Main verb (ing form of any action verb) eg:- eating
reading
working
Complete verb in a sentence eg:-
am eating
is eating
are eating
am reading
is reading
are reading

When we need to communicate what is happening right now and what someone is doing right now, we use the above verbs appropriately.

You need to consider the Subject – verb agreement in choosing the appropriate verb for your sentence.

Use of correct verb according to different subjects:-

Singular I am working hard. I am reading a book.
She is working hard.
He is working hard.
The dog is wagging its tail.
It is wagging its tail.
Mary is working hard.
She is reading a book.
He is reading a book.
The tree is falling.
It is raining outside.
Mary is reading a book.
Plural We are working hard.
You are working hard.
They are working hard.
Men are working hard.
We are reading books.
You are reading books.
They are reading books.
Children are reading books.

The following table gives elaborates how we should use the verb for different purposes;-

  • Conveying a positive idea. (Say Yes)
  • Conveying a negative idea. (Say No)
  • Interrogations (Asking Questions)
Positive Sentences Negative Sentences Questions
Singular I am working.
She is working.
He is working.
Mary is working
I am not working.
She is not working.
He is not working.
Mary is not working
Am I working?
Am I not working?
Is she working?
Is she not working?
Is he working?
Is he not working?
Is Mary working?
Is Mary not working?
Plural We are working.
You are working.
They are working.
We are not working.
You are not working.
They are not working.
Are we working?
Are we not working?
Are you working?
Are you not working?
Are they working?
Are they not working?

Contractions

Positive Sentences Negative Sentences Questions
Singular I’m working. I’m not working. -
She isn’t working.
He isn’t working.
Mary isn’t working
Isn’t she working?
Isn’t he working?
Isn’t Mary working?
Plural We’re working.
You’re working.
They’re working.
Aren’t we working?
Aren’t you working?
Aren’t they working?

Practical Usage of Present Continuous Tense

For an action happening right now.

  • The baby is crying.
  • It is raining.

For an action happening not necessarily right now.

  • I am learning English these days.

For Immediate plans

  • I am seeing him at the party tonight.
  • He is taking me to the cinema.
  • Are you doing anything this Sunday?

To talk about frequently repeated actions.

  • He is always saying it.

How to form the present participle form (ing form) of the verb.

Base from + ing

  1. Go + ing = going
  2. Work + ing = working
  3. See + ing = seeing
  4. Agree + ing = agreeing
  5. Be + ing = being
Argue argue +ing arguing (Vowels - a,e,i,o,u)
Dye dye + ing dyeing
Die die + ying dying
Lie lie + ying lying
Stop (c+v+c) stop + ping stopping
Travel travel + ling travelling
Run run+ning running
Begin begin+ning beginning
Open (c+vx+c) open+ing opening
Enjoy enjoy + ing enjoying
Carry carry + ing carrying
Come (v+c+e) come + ing coming
Drive drive + ing driving
Live live+ ing living
Make make + ing making
Write write + ing writing
g,m,n,t
Dig dig + ging digging
Swim swim + ming swimming
Cut cut + ting cutting
Sit sit + ting sitting

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