Before delving into the different uses of this tense, let’s first take a look at its form. How do we make present continuous or progressive?
Here is the formula: (am/is/are + present participle).
- She is watching TV.
- Is she watching TV? (interrogative)
- She is not watching TV. (negative)
- Ahmed is eating lunch now.
- Is Ahmed eating lunch now?
- Ahmed is not eating lunch now.
- We are studying for the exam.
- Are we studying for the exam?
- We are not studying for the exam.
The different uses of the present progressive (continuous):
USE 1: the present tense means that the action is happening right now, or more generally the action is unfinished and still going on. So, we use the present continuous with normal verbs to express the idea that something is happening now (at this very moment). It can also be used to show that something is not happening now.
- I’m reading a book about English tenses. (the action is occurring now).
- I’m writing a book on English grammar. (the act of writing is unfinished and still continuing).
- Why isn’t she doing her homework? (why isn’t she doing her homework right now?)
USE 2: to describe longer actions in progress now. In English, “now” can mean this second, today, this month, this year, this century, and so on. Sometimes we use the present continuous to say that we are in the process of doing a longer action which is in progress; however, we might not be doing it at this exact second.
- I am studying to become a teacher.
- I am not studying to become a doctor.
USE 3: sometimes, speakers use the present continuous to indicate that something will or will not happen in the near future.
- I am meeting some friends after work.
- I am not traveling tonight.
USE 4: we use it to express repetition & irritation mostly with “always“. The present progressive with words such as “always”, “constantly” expressed the idea that something is exasperating or shocking often happens. Remember to put the words “always” or “constantly” between “be” and “verb-ing”.
- She is always coming to class late.
- He is constantly talking. I wish he would shut up!
Sometimes, we use the present continuous in combination with the present simple to show that the action which is used in the continuous tense happens over time.
- Every day when I get home, Mouna is studying Spanish.
In the sentence above, “studying” used in the progressive tense doesn’t mean that the action is happening right now. It means that the action is happening over time; every day when I get home. In other words, Mouna starts to study before I get home and she is still studying when I arrive home.
Present Continuous Quiz
Fill in the blanks with either the present simple tense or the present progressive tense. Share your score at the end of the quiz!
Check out the PRESENT SIMPLE USAGE here.
You can try our other quizes here.
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