Level: intermediate

We use continuous aspect:

  • for something happening before and after a specific time:

He's getting on the train. (before and after the moment of speaking)
It was a quarter past ten. We were watching the news on television.

  • for something happening before and after another action:

Mother will be cooking the dinner when we get home.
We were waiting for the bus when it started to rain.

  • for something continuing for some time:

Everybody will be waiting for us.
They had been working hard all day.

  • for something happening again and again:

They've been doing that every day this week.
The children were always shouting.
He will be practising the piano every night.

  • for something temporary:

We are renting an apartment until our house is ready.
He was working in a garage during the vacation.

  • for something new:

We have moved from Birmingham. We're living in Manchester now.
He had left university and was working in his father's business.

  • to describe something changing or developing:

Everything has been getting more difficult.
He was growing more bad-tempered every day. 

Continuous aspect 1


Continuous aspect 2


We can use continuous aspect:

How long have you been sitting there?
I don't know how long she had been learning Spanish.

Your friends will be looking for you.
They might be playing tennis.

You should have been driving more carefully.
Soon we will have been living here for 25 years.

Continuous aspect 3


Continuous aspect 4


We do not normally use the continuous aspect with stative verbs. We use the simple instead:

I don't understand you. (NOT am not understanding)
When I got home, I really needed a shower. (NOT was needing)
I've always liked John. (NOT been liking)


I don't know if the question I asked will be read by anyone here, so I'd prefer to cancel it and ask my question elsewhere. Thank you.

Can someone explain me at the example "he's driving me mad" the right answer is "something happening before and after a given time"? Because i can't see where is that "given time" in this sentence. 
Thanks in advance! :)

 nice ! interesting !

really very useful information and very interesting exercises. Really I like this site and i am so proud to be a member of your site. Thanks.

I am Asya))
I think this is a very interesting information)))

Hi everyone.
I'm new in this club and I'm very glad to be here.
Could someone help me about why "He's driving me mad." is "Something happening before and after a given time"
Thanks for everything.

This is similar to the first example in the text - it's happening before and after the moment of speaking.
Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

It's a good summary about continuous aspect of English tenses. However, after I have finished all tense lessons of the website, I still have some problems. How can I use the correct tense for a certain situation? How about the future tenses? What's the different meanings if we use different tenses for a sentence? English tenses always confuse me, you have supplied many usage tips, but I think it not enough. Can you give me more about English tense and  more comprehensive lessons?

 Very interesting information to improve our English skills.
Thanks for being so useful.