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

What is the correct answer below question.

Q. I am starting to __ my mind.

a. lost
b. loose
c. lose
d. loss
e. losing

Hi Gentlemen, thank you so much for this brief guide, it has been very helpful to me , I would like to clarify a doubt that arose me, are both correct "he is always laughing" and "he laughs all the time", do they mean the same?
Thank you in advance,
cheers :)

Hi EtWsth8790.

Both mean that laughing is a common action for the person, but the first one may indicate that the speaker finds it irritating, while the second is more neutral. It's hard to say without knowing the context, however.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglsh Team

Hi Experts,
It would be great help to eliminate the big confusion on following sentences:

Following 2 sentences are present continuous, then what is the difference between them and why both are correct:

Is your great-grandmother still alive?
&
Is your great-grandmother still living?

thanks in advance...!!

Manoj

Hi manojparmar,

Both of those are fine and describe a current situation. The difference is grammatical: one uses a to be + adjective (is alive) whereas the other uses a present continuous form of the verb 'live' (is living).

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

May I have a question regarding the use of present continuous?

Suppose an Englishman saw a thief when he stole a purse from a lady. He is now describing the thief to a policeman (in the present tense): “The thief is young – about twenty. He is very thin and tall, his shoes are dirty with mud. He is wearing black jeans and has a dog with him.”

Could the Englishman use present continuous that way (e.g. “he is wearing black jeans”)?

Thanks.

Hello OldaB,

If the speaker thinks that the thief is still wearing the jeans now (i.e. has not changed his clothes) then the present continuous would be possible. Otherwise the past continuous would be used.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you very much, Peter.

The speaker thought that the thief was still wearing the jeans. And he was right: when the police caught the thief, he had the same jeans on. :-)

OldaB

Sir,I have a question regarding the statement:"At eight o’clock we are usually having breakfast."
Why can't we write the statement like this:"At eight o’clock we usually have our breakfast."

Hello souravsaha1605,

The present simple is the more commonly used tense here, as it is used to talk about repeated or habitual actions. Talking about a repeated action (as in your sentence) using the present continuous gives an additional layer of meaning, as if we were viewing the action happening right now. It is therefore often used to contrast with the present time, e.g. today we are having lunch at 8 (presumably because we woke up at 2am) whereas usually we are having breakfast at 8.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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