The present continuous tense is formed from the present tense of the verb be and the present participle (-ing form) of a verb:
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.:
- Determiners and quantifiers
- irregular verbs
- question forms
- verb phrases
- present tense
- past tense
- perfective aspect
- continuous aspect
- active and passive voice
- to + infinitive
- -ing forms
- talking about the present
- talking about the past
- talking about the future
- verbs in time clauses and if clauses
- wishes and hypotheses
- the verb be
- link verbs
- delexical verbs like have, take, make and give
- Modal verbs
- double object verbs
- phrasal verbs
- reflexive and ergative verbs
- verbs followed by to + infinitive
- verbs followed by -ing clauses
- verbs followed by that clause
- Clause, phrase and sentence
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