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

Hello Teacher,
How do I build a present continues negative interrogative statement to the following sentence?

" I am eating rice. "

Hello Dilshu Wijesinghe,

I'm afraid we don't provide answers for questions from homework or tests elsewhere. We're happy to answer questions about how the language works or to explain things on our pages which you don't understand, of course.

You can learn about forming negatives on this page.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Sir,
Thank you very much for your help. I just only provide a example for a question I have on my mind. It's always a struggle to me to build a negative interrogative statement for a present continuous senetence use "I" as the subject. Can I transform the above example ( I am eating rice ) to negative interrogative like this.
" Am not I eating rice? " Is this sentence correct?

Hello Dilshy Wijesinghe,

Yes, that is a correct sentence. It's not a very likely utterance, however. We might say this in a rhetorical manner, but not in any other context, I think.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you very much for your valuable help and explaining the grammatical usage of the above sentence, sir. It is really useful to me.

Hello Team,

How would you classify the sentences from the article? For me these fit to something which happens again and again. Am I right?

When we are telling a story:
When we are summarising the story from a book, film or play etc.:

Hello Jarek_O,

The 'full' sentence here would be:

We can use the present continuous to talk about the past when we are telling a story.

We can use the present continuous to talk about the past when we are summarising the story from a book, film or play etc.

The present continuous is used here because it shows a time which is in process. We are in the middle of telling a story or summarising a story and while we are doing this we can use the present continuous.

I hope that clarifies it for you.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

I would be thankful if you answered this question
Why i the example above you used present continuous (At eight o’clock we are usually having breakfast.) however;it is a habit?? and we are supposed to use present simple ?
Thank you
Best Regards....

Hello student2017,

As the explanation says, we use the present continuous for something which is in progress around (before and after) a given time. It's helpful to contrast the two forms:

At eight o’clock we are usually having breakfast. [breakfast starts before 8.00 and finishes after it; at 8.00 the breakfast is in progress]

At eight o’clock we usually have breakfast. [breakfast starts at 8.00]

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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 ..

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