Present Continuous Tense: Usage & Examples

The present continuous tense is formed using two parts: the present tense of the verb "to be" + the present participle of the main verb.

The present participle is formed by adding -ing to the base form of the verb (e.g., talking, playing, moving, smiling).

Examples: TO GO in the present continuous

Affirmative: I am going, You are going, He, she, it is going, We are going, You are going, They are going.

Negative: I am not going, You aren't going, He, she, it isn't going, We aren't going, You aren't going, They aren't going.

Interrogative: Am I going? Are you going? Is he, she, it going? Are we going? Are you going? Are they going?

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

Functions of the present continuous

The present continuous tense is used:

  • To describe an action that is happening at this moment: You are using the Internet. You are studying English grammar.
  • To describe an action that is happening during this period of time or as 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 that 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 emphasize a continuing series of repeated actions: Harry and Sally are always arguing! You're constantly complaining about your mother-in-law!

Be careful: Some verbs are not usually used in the continuous form.

Verbs that are not usually used in the continuous form:

  • Senses / perception: to feel*, to hear, to see*, to smell, to taste
  • Opinion: to assume, to believe, to consider, to doubt, to feel (= to think), to find (= to consider), to suppose, to think*
  • Mental states: to forget, to imagine, to know, to mean, to notice, to recognise, to remember, to understand
  • Emotions / desires: to envy, to fear, to dislike, to hate, to hope, to like, to love, to mind, to prefer, to regret, to want, to wish
  • Measurement: to contain, to cost, to hold, to measure, to weigh
  • Others: to look (=resemble), to seem, to be (in most cases), to have (when it means "to possess")*

Exceptions:

Perception verbs (see, hear, feel, taste, smell) are often used with "can":

  • I can see... (perception)
  • This coat feels nice and warm. (your perception of the coat's qualities)
  • John's feeling much better now. (his health is improving)
  • She has three dogs and a cat. (possession)
  • She's having supper. (She's eating)
  • I'm seeing Anthony later. (We are planning to meet)
Grammar Lab

Post a Comment

Cookie Consent
We serve cookies on this site to analyze traffic, remember your preferences, and optimize your experience.
Oops!
It seems there is something wrong with your internet connection. Please connect to the internet and start browsing again.
AdBlock Detected!
We have detected that you are using adblocking plugin in your browser.
The revenue we earn by the advertisements is used to manage this website, we request you to whitelist our website in your adblocking plugin.
Site is Blocked
Sorry! This site is not available in your country.