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

Section: 

Comments

Hi teacher .
I do not understand the last rule which say : we use present continuous for somethige happens again and again .. i know that we use present simple in this case ..

Hi lith,

You are correct that we use the present simple for actions which are typical or habitual. We use the present continuous when we want to emphasise that an action happens repeatedly, especially with a word like 'always' or 'constantly'. Most often this is when something is indicative of a person's character or nature, especially when it is irritating: Stephen is always borrowing my phone.

There is generally a choice between the present simple and continuous in these cases. Which one is used depends on the speaker and what they choose to emphasise.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi! I am a little confused how to answer this sentence:

...... Esli .......(work) this week?

Do we consider it a present continuous or future? Thanks for your contribution.

Hi moe,

There are many ways in which this sentence could be completed. Without any context it is not possible to say which is the most appropriate.

Please note that we have a police on LearnEnglish of not providing answers for tasks which are not from our pages. We are a small team here and cannot act as a resource for help with homework or tests from elsewhere - if we tried then we would have no time for anything else!

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Greetings,

I have doubt about present simple and present continuous tense. We use present simple tense for something that is fixed is the future. But later, in present countinuous section, these is an example:"At eight o’clock we are usually having breakfast."
Question is: Isn't "At eight o'clock" something that is fixed in future and why we use present continuous tense here?
I apologize if this was answered earlier.

Thank You.

Hello marcusses,

Using the present simple or present continuous here shows how you (the person who speaks or writes the sentence) see the event. If you use the present simple tense, it can show that you are seeing breakfast at that time as a daily routine, i.e. as something that's always the same.

The present continuous would be better in other contexts when you aren't talking about breakfast as a routine but rather as an activity in progress. For example, if your friend in Hawai'i wants to Skype you at 21:00 his time and asks if that's OK, you could say, 'Yes, that's 8:00 in Serbia. We're usually having breakfast then.' In this context, his call at 8:00 is a point in a time and eating breakfast is an activity in progress at that time. The present continuous tense shows that you see it this way.

You could also say 'We eat at 8:00, so yes, that's OK' and it's correct - it just imagines the event from a different perspective.

Does that make sense?

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Yes. it does make sense when you say it that way. I was not thinking of it as a perspective and how event is seen.

Thank you very much!

Hello sir,
Can it's possible that there is no object in a sentence. Pls help me find object in this sentence?
1. What are you doing next week?

Hello Water,

We divide questions in to subject questions and object questions. In a subject question, the question word is the subject of the verb. In an object question, such as yours, the question word ('what') is the object of the verb. You can see this clearly if you reverse the inversion (making it more of an exclamation than a question):

You are doing what next week?

Here, 'what' is clearly the object. It is the same in your question.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

I had a doubt. Can the present continuous tense be used for events that you are going to do in the near future?
For example, if someone asks you to do something, and you reply "Okay, I'm doing it.". Is this grammatically correct to describe events that you will be doing in no time. Or is it that the phrase can be just used for when you are *actually doing* that job at that moment?
If it can mean both, then is there any way that you can use to differentiate if this phrase is conveying a meaning indicating the future or the present?
This question may have sounded a little funny, but I have seen people use it. Couldn't find any reliable resource on the web to verify its grammatical authenticity.

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