We use the present continuous to talk about actions or things that are happening right now. The action or thing has started and it has not finished.
We form the present continuous by using the following sentence pattern. Subject + be verb + verb(-ing)...
The "be verb" depends on the subject.
- I am working.
- I am eating.
- You are studying English now.
- We are working together.
- My mother is cooking and my father is fixing a fan.
- He is studying.
- My company is hiring new people.
- The students are discussing the topic.
- We are walking to the park.
You can also make negative sentences by just adding "not" after the "be verb".
- He is not studying. He's playing games.
- We are not working together on this project.
- They're not speaking to each other because they are angry at each other.
- I am not working today.
- She's not thinking about moving to New York anymore.
You can also make yes/no questions by putting the "be verb" first. Follow this sentence pattern. Be Verb + subject + verb(-ing)...?
- Are you studying now?
- Is he cooking dinner at the moment?
- Are your brothers fighting?
- Is Tim getting ready to leave?
You can also make sentences with question words. Question Word + be verb + subject + verb(-ing)...?
- Who is talking right now?
- Who is working at the office today?
- What are you doing now?
- What is he doing with that hammer?
- Where are you going?
- Why are we studying? The weather is beautiful.
- How is it going?
There is one more important thing that you must know about the present continuous tense. It can also be used to talk about the future. You can tell which one is being used by the situation or by the time word used in the sentence whether the sentence is talking about now or in the future. Look at some examples.
This lesson was meant to be a quick overview of the present continuous tense. The next lessons will have a lot more details, examples, and practice to help you learn this English verb tense perfectly. This is a very important verb tense that you must know. So, check out the next free English grammar lessons to get more practice.
- He's going to Europe next week. (Future)
- I am working at the moment. (Now)
- He is sleeping. (Now)
- We are meeting later. (Future)
- He is going to the store. (We don't know just from this sentence! In a sentence like this, you need to figure it out from the situation or what was said before this sentence)
- What are you doing tonight? (Future)
- What are you doing? (Now)
- I am going to the gym after I eat dinner. (future)