Present continuous – form and introduction

Present Continuous tense


There are several continuous tenses in English, and all of
them are similar in form: they use BE + the -ing form  of
another verb.

–         It is the form of the verb BE that indicates the tense (time).

  • I am playing football     (Present continuous)
  • She was walking down the road     (Past continuous)
  • We have been studying all evening     (Present perfect continuous)

–         The verb with ing is the principle verb.

All the continuous tenses (present, past, future, perfect) are similar in use but not exactly the same–and they are used for talking about  different moments in time.

First we are going to talk about the Present Continuous tense

To understand the present continuous tense better, we need to have
a look at its form.


Present Continuous Tense: Form


The present continuous tense always has two parts:

1-    BE (present: am, are,is)

2-   a verb ending in ing



  • He is playing.
  • They are sleeping.
  • It isn’t raining.
  • Are you reading these examples?
  • We are listening to some interesting podcasts.
  • I am writing grammar notes for my website.

Important additional comments

When speaking, or in informal written English, we can use contractions when the subject is a noun–especially when the subject means
he,she,or it:

  • John’s sitting at his desk.
    Sofia’s watching TV.
    The alarm’s making a very loud noise.

If the subject is a pronoun (I, he, she, it, we, you, they) contractions are used as in the verb to be

Some books and teachers use the term present progressive
tense instead of present continuous tense. Occasionally we also see the present durative tense
All three names are correct and refer to exactly the same verb form

It is important to remember that the present continuous as in:

“I’m listening to music and writing about English Grammar” is just another version of the present tense and it shows the progressive aspect of the present.

Have a look at the present continuous for temporary situations or the present continuous for the future and also think that there are some verbs that are non continuous or non progressive verbs

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