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

I would like to know what is the difference between "sth that is fixed" in present simple tense and "sth arranged or planned" in present continuous tense.

Also there are both "sth that happens again and again" in present simple and present continuous tense. How can i distinguish them?

Thank you.

Hello rubyho,

A fixed time is one which is set by a timetable or a schedule, not one decided by an individual. It often refers to events which repeat regularly such as train times.

Something arranged or planned is established by or between individuals or groups. It is often a one-time event.

Both forms can be used to describe repeating events but there is a slight difference. The present simple is usually used to describe actions which are normal or common, while the present continuous is used to describe behaviour or activities which are representative of a person or thing in some way. The difference is quite subtle and the best way to pick it up is by exposure: through reading and listening to English and seeing or hearing examples in a natural context.

I hope that clarifies it for you.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

hi
I just want to understand this rule.please explain me,thank you.
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.

Hello archijais,

The present continuous is used here because the action is 'in progress'. For example:

At eight o’clock we usually have breakfast. - We start eating at 8.00.

At eight o’clock we are usually having breakfast. - At 8.00 we are in the middle of eating.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello SHUBHAM KANT DUBEY,

As the explanation says, we can use present forms (including the present continuous) to tell a story, usually when the story is an anecdote or a joke. It helps to make the performance (the storytelling) more memorable. For example, I could start an anecdote like this:

So, there I was in the city late at night. I was walking home and suddenly I saw a police car...

Alternatively, I could tell the same story using present forms:

So, there I am in the city late at night. I'm walking home and suddenly I see a police car...

I hope that helps to clarify it for you.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

hi
please help what is the difference between, i always do, i am always doing.e.g I always lose my things and i am always losing my things,

Hi hornbyas,

The difference between verbal forms really depends a lot on context, so it's difficult to say more than what's explained on this page and our present simple and present tense pages regarding those tenses in general.

As for 'I always lose my things' vs. 'I am always losing my things', the first is a more general, neutral statement, whereas the latter implies some kind of emotion, e.g. frustration or annoyance. The present simple is commonly used to express annoyance in this way.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

I got 100% but i need to know how we can use the present continues for the past like "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."

Hello Ahmed,

There's an example in the exercise, so you've already seen at least that one! Sometimes we tell stories set in the past using the present continuous, to give a sense of immediacy to them.

Best wishes,

Adam
The LearnEnglish Team

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