Present Continuous Tense

Woman waiting at train stationShe is waiting at the station. The train is coming soon.

We often use the present continuous tense in English. It is very different from the simple present tense, both in structure and in use.

In this lesson we look the structure and use of the present continuous tense, follwed by a quiz to check your understanding.

Continuous tenses are also called progressive tenses. So the present progressive tense is the same as the present continuous tense.

How do we make the Present Continous Tense?

Positive Negative Question
I am watching TV I am not watching TV Am I watching TV?
You are watching TV You are not/aren’t watching TV Are you watching TV?
They are watching TV They are not/aren’t watching TV Are they watching TV?
We are watching TV We are not/aren’t watching TV Are we watching TV?
She is watching TV She is not/isn’t watching TV Is she watching TV?
He is watching TV He is not/isn’t watching TV Is he watching TV?
It is watching TV It is not/isn’t watching TV Is it watching TV?

How do we use the Present Continuous Tense?

We use the present continuous tense to talk about:

  • action happening now
  • action in the future

We use the Present Continuous to say that we are in the middle of an action.

I am waiting for the train. (I’m at the train station now.I’m waiting means that I am in the middle of a period of waiting. The wait is not yet over.)
She is getting the lunch ready. (She is in the kitchen at the moment.)
The aircraft is flying at the speed of 500mph (the aircraft is on the sky now)

We can also use the Present Continous Tense when we are in the middle of something but not actually doing it at the moment of speaking.

I must get back to the office. We‘re working on a new project.
I’m quite busy these days. I‘m doing a course at college.

We can use the Present Continous when things are changing over a long period.

The number of cars on the road is increasing.
It is getting colder and colder.

We can use the Present Continouse Tense for the future meaning. It describes the action has been arranged to do in the future.

I am playing football with Peter tomorrow morning.
He is flying to the South on next Monday.