What is the present continuous tense?

The present continuous tense (or present progressive) is commonly used to express ongoing or unfinished actions or ongoing states.

The present continuous tense uses the present simple form of to be for a given subject and the present participle of a main verb.

subject + am + present participle
subject + are + present participle
subject + is + present participle

Present Simple Tense

  1. I work in the kitchen on weekends.
  2. You clean the garage regularly.
  3. He paints the walls every day.
  4. She is nice to me whenever I see her.
  5. We stay at the Pacific Hotel every year.
  6. They make cookies on holidays.

Present Continuous Tense

  1. I am working in the kitchen right now.
  2. You are cleaning the garage right now.
  3. He is painting the walls right now.
  4. She is being nice today.
  5.  We are staying at the Pacific Hotel right now.
  6. They are making cookies right now.

When is the present continuous tense used?

The present perfect tense is used frequently in English.  There are different contexts in which the tense is commonly used.
 

  • Something happening now (at this moment)
  • Longer actions, not necessarily at this exact moment, but in progress
  • Repeated actions

General Statement/Habit
Present Simple

  1. I read every night.
  2.  Erik exercises every night.
  3. Shelly drinks a lot of water.
  4.  Elliot bites his nails during class.
  5.  I do the dishes every night after dinner.

Something happening now (At this moment)
Present Continuous

  1. I am reading right now.
  2.  Erik is exercising right now.
  3.  Shelly is drinking water right now.
  4. Elliot is biting his nails right now.
  5.  I am doing the dishes right now.

General Statement / General Truths
Present Simple

  1. She studies at the college.
  2.  I learn a new song every week.
  3. They travel frequently.
  4.  Seth works at the grocery store.
  5.  I learn a new language every year.

Longer actions  (Actions in progress)
Present Continuous

  1.  She is studying at the college to become a doctor.
  2.  I am learning a new song this week.
  3.  They are traveling around the world this year.
  4.  Seth is working at the grocery store this week.
  5.  I am learning French right now.

General Statement / Repeated Actions
Present Simple

  1. I read every night.
  2.  Erik exercises every night.
  3. We always get a late start.
  4.  My mother bakes cookies frequently.
  5.  Dave makes jokes frequently

Repeated Actions
Present Continuous

  1. I am reading again tonight.
  2.  Erik is exercising at the gym again.
  3. We are getting a late start again.
  4. Mother is baking cookies again.
  5.  Dave is always making jokes.

Can any verb be used in the present continuous tense?

Some verbs are not used (or are not commonly used) in the present continuous tense.  Generally, stative or state verbs are not used in this tense.  The present continuous tense is mainly use for verbs that express action or dynamic activity.

Present Simple

  1. John loves his parents.
  2. John and Alice prefer the pizza parlor.
  3. I want a new car.
  4. Katie knows a lot about chemistry.

Present Continuous (Not recommended)

  1. John is loving his parents.
  2.  They are preferring the pizza parlor.
  3. I am wanting a new car.
  4. She is knowing a lot about chemistry.

What are examples of present continuous negative statements?

Negative statements in the present perfect tense are formed in the following manner:
Subject + to be (am/are/is)  + not + present participle of main verb

Present Continuous Statement

  1. I am cooking dinner now.
  2. You are singing in the play.
  3. He is working late tonight.
  4. She is running in the race.
  5. It is raining at my house.
  6. We are coming over for dinner.
  7. They are having a good time.

Present Continuous Negative Statement

  1. I am not cooking dinner right now.
  2. You are not singing in the play.
  3. He is not working late tonight.
  4. She is not running in the race.
  5. It is not raining at my house.
  6. We are not coming over for dinner.
  7. They are not having a good time.

What are examples of present continuous questions?

Present continuous questions are formed in the following manner:
To be (am/are/is)  + subject + present participle of main verb

Present Continuous Question

  1. Am I sitting in the best chair?
  2. Are you walking at the mall right now?
  3. Is Tom meeting with his friends?
  4. Is Alice staying at a hotel?
  5. Is it snowing in the mountains?
  6. Are we having a good time?
  7. Are they washing the dishes?

Present Continuous Statement

  1. Yes, you are sitting in the best chair.
  2. Yes, I am walking at the mall right now.
  3. Yes, he is meeting with his friends.
  4. Yes, she is staying at a hotel downtown.
  5. Yes, it is snowing in the mountains.
  6. Yes, we are having a good time.
  7. Yes, they are washing the dishes.

What are good examples of the present continuous tense?

More examples of Present Continuous Tense

  1. I am working in the kitchen.
  2. He is painting the wall.
  3. They are traveling around the world.
  4. I am not staying here tonight.
  5. They are not having a good time.
  6. We aren’t coming over for dinner.
  7. She isn’t running in the race.
  8. Is it snowing in the mountains?
  9. Are the boys washing the car?

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