present continuous

 

The present continuous tense is formed from the present tense of the verb be and the present participle (-ing form) of a verb:

Use

1. We use the present continuous tense to talk about the present:

  • for something that is happening at the moment of speaking:

I’m just leaving work. I’ll be home in an hour.
Please be quiet. The children are sleeping.

  • for something which is happening before and after a given time:

At eight o’clock we are usually having breakfast.
When I get home the children are doing their homework.

 

  • for something which we think is temporary:

Michael is at university. He’s studying history.
I’m working in London for the next two weeks.

  • for something which is new and contrasts with a previous state:

These days most people are using email instead of writing letters.
What sort of clothes are teenagers wearing nowadays? What sort of music are they listening to?

  • to show that something is changing, growing or developing:

The children are growing quickly.
The climate is changing rapidly.
Your English is improving.

  • for something which happens again and again:

It’s always raining in London.
They are always arguing.
George is great. He’s always laughing.

Note: We normally use always with this use.

2. We use the present continuous tense to talk about the future:

  • for something which has been arranged or planned:

Mary is going to a new school next term.
What are you doing next week?

3. We can use the present continuous to talk about the past:

  • When we are telling a story
  • When we are summarising the story from a book, film or play etc.:

Exercise

Comments

hellow teacher!
Which one is correct among the two sentences below?
1. The apple in the basket is starting rotting
2. The apple in the basket is starting rot
Thank you in advance for you time and consideration

Hello Oscas,

Actually, neither is correct. The to + infinitive form of verbs is used after the verb start - therefore, the sentence should be:

3. The apple in the basket is starting to rot.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi teacher!
I get confused in one the example of present continuos for something which is happening before and after a given time "At eight o’clock we are usually having breakfast" as far as i got understand it, it is in form of present continous for something that happens again and again that is "we have a habit of having breakfast at eight o'clock every day" am I right or wrong please help me understand it.

Hi Oscas,

Both the present simple and present continuous can be used to speak about repeated actions, but the present simple is more generally used for this. When we use the present continuous to speak about repeated events, these events are somehow related to the time being discussed. So in this example, it could be that it is approximately 8 o'clock, or perhaps we are talking about some event at 8 o'clock.

I hope this helps clarify it for you!

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Abdul Qadir,

Generally speaking, the verb 'be' is not used in continuous tenses as a main verb. It's most frequent use in present continuous forms is as an auxiliary verb in passive sentences:

I am being attacked.

We are being questioned by the police.

However, we do sometimes use 'be' to emphasise temporary behaviour which is different from that which is normal or expected:

She is being very rude today.

I am being a terrible bore about this, I know.

I hope that clarifies it for you.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

hello
why we dont use "past continuous " for the past, in the story or for summarising?
it seems apparently wrong?
thanks for your attention

Hello Mrs Vahedi,

Note that the explanation says that the present continuous can be used in these ways, but that does not mean that you can only use the present continuous to tell a story or to summarise. You can use the past continuous to do these things as long as it makes sense given the context.

If you have any doubts, please feel free to write a few sentences and we can check them for you.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Pages