The Present Continuous to be able to begin to gain self-confidence, since it is the easiest tense used in the English language. It is used to describe actions that are happening at the same time that one speaks or cyclical situations that occur in a defined period of time.

How is it formed?

To form a sentence in the Present Continuous it is done as follows:

Subject Affirmative Sentence Negative Phrase Interrogative Phrase
Yo I am playing I am not playing Am I playing?
you you are playing You are not playing Are you playing?
He, She, It He is playing He is not playing Is he playing?
We We are playing We are not playing Are we playing?
you you are playing You are not playing Are you playing?
They They are playing They are not playing Are they playing?

Depending on the verb to be used, we will explain below the tricks to detect and/or form the Present Continuous.

  1. It is formed by adding “ing” to the verb.
    • Talk -> Talking
    • Play -> Playing
    • Jump -> Jumping
  2.    If the verb ends in  a consonant + stressed vowel + consonant , we must  double the final consonant  before adding the suffix  «ing».
    • Plan -> Planning
    • Stop -> Stopping
    • Swim –> Swimming
  3. Verbs that end in  vowel + consonant + silent «e»  lose the final «e»  before adding the suffix «ing».
    • Dance -> Dance
    • Taking -> Taking
    • Write -> Writing
  4. Verbs that end in «ee» keep it before adding the suffix «ing».
    • Agreeing -> Agreeing
    • Seeing -> Seeing
    • Fleeing -> Fleeing
  5. Some verbs in English that end in “ ie” . These verbs change the “ ie”  to “ y”  before adding the suffix “ ing :
    • Lie -> Lying
    • Die -> Dying
    • Tie -> Tying
  6. If the verb ends in «l» (even if it does not have an accent on the last syllable), the «l» is doubled in British English but not in American English.
    • Travel -> Traveling (British English)
    • Travel -> Traveling (American English)

When is it used?

The Present Continuous is used to describe actions that are happening at the same time you speak. The main basic rules of use are:

  1. For actions that are in progress at the time of speaking. The most frequently used adverbs are: now, at present, at the moment, etc.
    • I am playing soccer now.
  2. For incomplete actions also in progress at the time of speaking. The most used adverbs are: This year, nowdays, these days, etc.
    • This year I am learning to play chess.
  3. For actions that are going to occur with complete certainty in the near future since they have been previously programmed. The keywords that always accompany are: tonight, tomorrow, next week, in a minute, etc.
    • I am moving to Cadiz next week.

Other uses of the gerund:

  1. As the subject of the sentence when talking about general activities.
    • Smoking is bad for your health.
  2. When using the direct object with verbs that express likes and preferences and the opposite. Like, love, prefer, hate, can’t stand, etc.
    • I love swimming in the ocean.
  3. It is used after the following verbs: avoid, finish, suggest, can’t help, keep.
    • I can’t help laughing at him.
  4. In short bans we find them in public places.
    • no tuxedo
    • no fishing
    • no swimming
  5. Behind the following temporal adverbs: before, after, since, while, etc.
    • He decided to go to a game after speaking to his parents.

I hope that the article has been useful to you and I suggest that you share with us your doubts or your own tricks to learn more about the Present Continuous. I take this opportunity to leave you the link to the following tenses: the Past Simple  and the Present Perfect  in case you need to reinforce these tenses.

At CLIC International House Sevilla we take language teaching very seriously. Proof of this is that we have been consolidated in Seville for more than 30 years.

Article written by Juan Jiménez-Castellanos Carmona , CLIC International House Seville.