English Grammar – Present Continuous Tense

It is also called Present Progressive Tense because it refers to the actions which are in progress at the time of speaking.

In this tense the ‘ing’ form of the verb is used. Eg: going, eating, reading etc.

Auxiliary verbs used in this tense:  is, am & are.


  • If subject of the sentence is ‘I’ then the auxiliary verb ‘am’ is used in a sentence.
  • If subject of the sentence is ‘He, She, It or a singular noun’, then the auxiliary verb ‘is’ will be used in a sentence.
  • If subject of the sentence is ‘You, they or plural noun’ then the auxiliary verb ‘are’ is used in a sentence.

The formula for present continuous (Positive) is Subject + Aux +V4 (ing form)

Positive     Negative Interrogative
I am writing. I am not writing. Am I writing?
We are writing. We are not writing. Are we writing?
You are writing. You are not writing. Are you writing?
He is writing. He is not writing. Is he writing?
She is writing. She is not writing. Is she writing?
It is writing. It is not writing. Is it writing?
They are writing. They are not writing. Are they writing?

We use the Present Continuous Tense

I. We use present continuous tense for actions at present.

For something that is happening at the moment of speaking:

  • I’m just completing work. I’ll be home in an hour.
  • Please be quiet. The kids are studying.

For something which is happening before and after a given time:

  • At six o’clock we are usually going for walk.
  • When I get home the children are doing their homework.

For something which we think is temporary:

  • John is at university. He is studying Chemistry.
  • I am working in New York for next one month.

For something which is new and contrasts with a previous state:

  • These days people are using email instead of writing letters.
  • What sort of clothes are teenagers wearing nowadays?

To show that something is changing, growing or developing:

  • The kids are growing quickly.
  • The climate is changing rapidly.

For something which happens again and again:

  • They are always quarreling.
  • Sam is always laughing.

Note: We normally use always with this use.

II. We use the present continuous tense to talk about the future:

For something which has been  planned or arranged.

  • John is going to a new school next year.
  • Where are you going next week?

III.  Present continuous tense can also be used to show that something will or will not happen in the near future. Examples of this use:

  • She is not going to the movie tonight.
  • He is meeting his friends after school.


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