You are here

Continuous aspect

Level: intermediate

We use continuous aspect:

  • for something happening before and after a specific time:

He's getting on the train. (before and after the moment of speaking)
It was a quarter past ten. We were watching the news on television.

  • for something happening before and after another action:

Mother will be cooking the dinner when we get home.
We were waiting for the bus when it started to rain.

  • for something continuing for some time:

Everybody will be waiting for us.
They had been working hard all day.

  • for something happening again and again:

They've been doing that every day this week.
The children were always shouting.
He will be practising the piano every night.

  • for something temporary:

We are renting an apartment until our house is ready.
He was working in a garage during the vacation.

  • for something new:

We have moved from Birmingham. We're living in Manchester now.
He had left university and was working in his father's business.

  • to describe something changing or developing:

Everything has been getting more difficult.
He was growing more bad-tempered every day. 

Continuous aspect 1


Continuous aspect 2


We can use continuous aspect:

How long have you been sitting there?
I don't know how long she had been learning Spanish.

Your friends will be looking for you.
They might be playing tennis.

You should have been driving more carefully.
Soon we will have been living here for 25 years.

Continuous aspect 3


Continuous aspect 4


We do not normally use the continuous aspect with stative verbs. We use the simple instead:

I don't understand you. (NOT am not understanding)
When I got home, I really needed a shower. (NOT was needing)
I've always liked John. (NOT been liking)


Hello Mydearfriend!
Thanks for your kind words - it's great to hear you find the website so useful! Good luck learning English, and enjoy your time on the site.
Jeremy Bee
The LearnEnglish Team

Could anyone to explain me the difference  between "make  money" and  "earn  money" ?  

I would like to know if the Duration form in a negative sentence must be always done with the present perfect simple or can be also done with the present perfect continuous. Thank-you

Hello anna maria,

Could you please give an example of what you mean? I just want to give you an accurate answer. Thanks!

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello dear, i suppose this reply is too late and you might have gotten  the answer already , but never mind i'm a new member also English learner. so i will explain them to you if they're  wrong you can correct me if they're  right then say they're right .well here we go,
make money is first you have to find methods  to bring money either by working or starting your own business.for instance, to buy my own car first i have to make enough money or I'd like to make some money so i can start my own business
as for earn money,to earn money from either your own business or by working with an employer. for instance, i earn 200 pounds every week.
I earn too much money from my own  new business.let me give you  an example in the past, i have earned 500 pounds only this week..thanks

I don't know if the question I asked will be read by anyone here, so I'd prefer to cancel it and ask my question elsewhere. Thank you.

Can someone explain me at the example "he's driving me mad" the right answer is "something happening before and after a given time"? Because i can't see where is that "given time" in this sentence. 
Thanks in advance! :)

 nice ! interesting !

really very useful information and very interesting exercises. Really I like this site and i am so proud to be a member of your site. Thanks.

I am Asya))
I think this is a very interesting information)))