- 1 Present continuous in detail
- 2 What is the Present Continuous Tense in English?
- 3 The Present Continuous tense structures/formulas
- 4 Present continuous tense uses
- 5 Don’t use stative verbs in progressive tenses!
- 6 Verbs that can be both stative and action verbs
- 7 The Present Continuous tense Active and Passive voice
Present continuous in detail
The present continuous tense, also commonly known as the present progressive tense, is one of the most common and used tenses we have in English. We use this tense in at least 25% of our conversations.
Therefore, it becomes vital that we know how to use the present continuous tense in the correct way and in which situations we use it.
What is the Present Continuous Tense in English?
Definition of present continuous tense: The present continuous tense is a form of tense that is mainly used to talk about actions that are in progress at the moment of speaking. Apart from this, it also has other uses. We will see all the uses of the present continuous separately.
If I asked you to tell me what is going on there right now, you would tell me everything using the present continuous tense.
Let me tell you what’s going on here right now:
- My brother is talking to someone over the phone.
- Some kids are playing football outside.
- Jane, my cousin, is watching T.V.
- My parents are drinking tea.
- A guy is selling cotton candies.
- Some ladies are buying something from a street vendor.
- Jimmy, my dog, is drinking water.
All of these things are happening right now as I write them for you. Now, let’s understand the structures of the present continuous tense before we get into more uses of this tense.
The Present Continuous tense structures/formulas
Before we look at the present continuous tense examples, let’s understand what the different types of sentences look like here.
Subject is/am/are V1 + ing object/modifier
- She is playing outside.
- I am working on the next lesson.
- Jon is playing games in his room.
Subject is/am/are not V1 + ing object/modifier
- She is not playing outside.
- I am not working on the next lesson.
- Jon is not playing games in his room.
Is/am/are subject V1 + ing object/modifier?
- Is she playing outside?
- Am I working on the next lesson?
- Is Jon playing games in his room?
Interrogative negative sentences
Is/am/are subject not V1 + ing object/modifier?
- Is she not playing outside?
- Am I not working on the next lesson?
- Is Jon not playing games in his room?
|is||he, she, it (singular noun names)|
|are||you, we, they (plural noun names)|
Verbs and subjects used in the present continuous
Now, let’s see all the situations in which we use the present continuous in English.
Present continuous tense uses
1. To talk about ongoing actions.
This is the most common use of the present continuous in English. Here, we talk about actions that are happening at the moment of speaking. You can also talk about actions that are not happening at the time of speaking or ask about actions that are happening.
- Jon is playing football outside.
- Alok, my elder brother, is sitting next to me.
- My father is laughing madly, probably at something my mother said.
- Jyoti is making pasta for me in the kitchen.
- Some boys are arguing outside.
- I am not talking to anyone.
- Nobody is looking at me.
2. To talk about actions planned for the near future.
También usamos el presente continuo para hablar de acciones que están planeadas para el futuro cercano.
- We are leaving for the party in the evening.
- I am going to Lucknow next week.
- Are you coming home this weekend?
- They are throwing a party this month.
- Is he going to join us tonight?
- She is coming back tomorrow.
3. To talk about longer action that are in progress.
Sometimes we use the present continuous to talk about actions that are in progress. You may not see these actions actively happening, but the status of the actions is on.
- I am working with a new startup now.
(The action of working, physical action, might not be happening right now. I might be at my home sleeping. But the action of working there is on; I am still a part of it.)
- Anne is writing a book about the human mind.
(The action of writing a book is a long action. It might not be happening right now, but the state of the action is on.)
- My sister is studying BBA at SRCC college.
- Jon and Max are living with me these days.
- I am not teaching at my home anymore.
- Are you still working on that project?
- Is Rahul dating your sister?
4. To talk about current trends/ to talk about changes.
Cuando hay una nueva tendencia o un cambio, usamos el presente continuo para hablar de ello.
- People are not doing conventional jobs these days.
- Your English is getting better.
- My business is growing rapidly.
- Most people are leaning towards using public transport today.
- No country is doing good in this corona time.
- Education is getting expensive these days.
5. To talk about repeated actions.
El presente continuo, a veces, también se usa para hablar de acciones que se repiten con frecuencia. Estas acciones son generalmente chocantes o irritantes.
Words like ‘always’ and ‘constantly’ are used here before the verb (BE).
- She is always arguing with her mother de ella.
- They are always playing outside
- Jon is constantly whining about his job.
NOTE: DOES NOT REFER TO AN ACTION THAT IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW; IT REFERS TO ACTIONS THAT ARE CARRIED OUT FREQUENTLY. WE CAN ALSO USE THE PRESENT INDEFINITE TO TALK ABOUT THIS.
- She always argues with her mother de ella.
- They always play outside
- Jon constantly whines about his job.
Don’t use stative verbs in progressive tenses!
There are certain verbs, stative, with which we cannot use the present continuous or any other continuous tense. Here are some of the most common stative verbs in English:
love, hate, like, adore, abhor, fear, dislike, envy, prefer, want, wish, regret, mind
believe, consider, understand, know, forget, remember, mean, believe, doubt, suppose, agree
hear, see, smell, taste
cost, weigh, contain, measure
have, own, belong, possess, include, owe
- I am loving you. ❌
- I love you. ✔️
- She is not understanding me. ❌
- She does not understand me. ✔️
- We are hating you for this. ❌
- We hate you for this. ✔️
- I am not believing in what you are saying. ❌
- I don’t believe in what you are saying. ✔️
- Are you remembering me? ❌
- Do you remember me? ✔️
- I am not hearing anything. ❌
- I don’t hear anything. ✔️
- How much is it costing? ❌
- How much does it cost? ✔️
NOTE: SOME VERBS CAN FUNCTION AS BOTH STATIVE AND ACTION VERBS.
Verbs that can be both stative and action verbs
Here are some of the most common verbs that can be both stative and action:
Action = the action of directing your eyes in a particular direction and see something
Stative = to seem
- Where are you looking? (Action)
- You don’t look fine today. (Stative)
Action = to date someone
Stative = to perceive by the eyes
- Are you seeing anyone these days? (Action)
- He sees everything. (Stative)
Action = the action of using your nose to find out the smell of an object
Stative = to refer to a state/quality of an object
- Why are you smelling me? (Action)
- You smell good. (Stative)
Action = to eat, drink, take or experience
Stative = to own or possess
- I am having lunch right now. (Action)
- I am having a great time. (Action)
- I have an amazing book. (Stative)
Action = the action of using your mouth to find out the taste of an object
Stative = the quality of state that an object has
- He is just tasting the food. (Action)
- This dish tastes amazing. (Stative)
Action = to use your mind consciously to solve a problem, answer something, or to make a decision
Stative = to talk about your opinions
- I am thinking about that situation right now. (Action)
- I think going there is not a good idea. (Stative)
Action = to do the action of measuring the weight of an object
Stative = to talk about the weigh that an object possesses
- The shopkeeper is weighing the can of oil. (Action)
- The can of oil weights 8 kg. (Stative)
Action = to do the action of measuring something of an object
Stative = to talk about the quality of an object
- He is measuring the length of the bed. (Action)
- The bed measures 5 feet 3 inches long. (Stative)
Conclusion: The present continuous in English is one of the most used verb tenses in English. We use it every day, in most of our conversations. So every time you have to express what you or someone else is doing right now, you should use this time.
The Present Continuous tense Active and Passive voice
It is also important to know how to use the passive voice in the present continuous tense. Here are the structures of the present continuous in active and passive voice:
Active voice: Subject (the doer) + is/am/are + V1+ing + object (the receiver)
Passive voice: Object (the receiver) + is/am/are + being + V3 + by + subject (the doer)
- Active voice: I am writing an letter.
- Passive voice: A letter is being written (by me).
- Active voice: They are making a floating hotel here.
- Passive voice: A floating hotel is being made here (by them).
- Active voice: Jon is teaching kids right now.
- Passive voice: Kids are being taught right now (by Jon).
- Active voice: My mother is telling me something.
- Passive voice: I am being told something (by my mother).
NOTA: a menudo no agregamos al autor de la acción en la voz pasiva ya que no es importante para el significado de la oración. En voz pasiva, solo queremos centrarnos en el receptor de la acción (objeto).