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:


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.:



i just want to know
What is the different between
this:When I get home the children are doing their homework.
this: When i get home the children were doing their homework
i guess 2nd one is correct

Hello Norek,

The first sentence is correct and describes a typical situation: each time you get home, the children are in the middle of doing their homework.

The second sentence is incorrect. You would need to say 'When I got home the children were...' and it would then describe not a typical situation but one particular situation in the past.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

kindly which one more correct between these two sentences:
1- She's buying a new laptop on Thursday.
2- she will buy a new laptop on thursday.
and which one preffered to use?

Hello ismail76,

That really depends on what you mean. Please see our talking about the future for an explanation of how the different forms are used.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

thank you in advance
please correct my understanding for the following:
The first sentences will be valid in case who said the sentence know that she has plan or arrangement,
and the second one will be valid in case it make prediction.

Hello ismail,

Yes, the first sentence indicates a definite plan - for example, perhaps she's already requested the shop to have the laptop ready. And yes, the second sentence could be used to make a prediction, offer or promise, among other possibilities.

Good work!

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello dear BC team,

this web site shows us why is the internet most valuable thing these days. It is really, really helpful to me. Anyway as I ask questions often I do not know if I bother your team. If do, please let me know. I have some quetions, if you can answer it would be great.

1.What sort of music are they listening to? Why TO at the end of the sentence? Is it possible to omit it?
2. What about the patternt "how to something" when we speak in general? Is it grammatical and formal? For example, if I am wondering "how to fix my car", or it is better to say "How can I fix my car? Do you have any suggestion on this kind of patterns? Other examples are: how to make a dessert, how to play the gituar, etc.
Best wishes

Hello swxswx,

We try to answer the questions out users have, but sometimes it is not possible or it takes some time as it is not our primary role here. We're happy for you to ask, however, and answer when we are able.

The 'to' in these questions is different. In your first question 'to' is a preposition and it is necessary as 'listen' has an object in the sentence: 'what kind of music'. You can use 'listen' as an intransitive verb (without an object), but if there is an object then the preposition is necessary.

Are you listening? [no object]

You're not very good at listening. [no object]

Are you listening to me? ['me' is the object]

You're not very good at listening to what I'm saying. ['what I'm saying' is the object]

In your second question the 'to' is part of the verb form - the infinitive. For indirect questions you can use both alternatives:

'I am wondering how to fix my car.'

'I am wondering how I can fix my car.'

For direct questions we tend not to use the alternative with 'to':

'How can I fix my car?'

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team


Dear sir :
what is difference between
something that happens again and again in the present
and something which happens again and again
can i say
They always argue
They are always arguing
is these same meaning?

Hi nkmg,

'always' is commonly used with the present continuous to express the idea that something happens too often or more often than normal. So 'they're always arguing' implies that the speaker thinks they argue too much or more than normal. 'They always argue' is more a simple statement of fact, with no commentary.

Note that this is similar to your other question about present continuous and present simple. The use of the continuous aspect implies a perspective on the action.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team