Both tenses have a continuous form. These continuous tenses are formed with the verb be and the –ing form of the verb:

We use continuous aspect:

  • for something happening before and after a given time.

He’s getting on the train. [before and after the moment of speaking]
It was quarter past ten. We were watching the news on television.

  • for something continuing 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. 



 Can I say " my back is hurting me"? if no, why?
Thanks in advance

Hello zagrus,

Yes, you can say that.  In fact, I said it to my wife yesterday afternoon after carrying some heavy things down to the cellar!  The present continuous form is used to show it is something true at the moment, of course, and we can substitute other parts of the body (my leg is hurting me / my finger is hurting me etc).

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team


Is this sentence correct?

"The man is having his eyes closed." Thanks!

I think when we are reading a lesson, what we are thinking is something that has passed. so it's hard to hook to the lesson unless we use the lesson when the happening is happening. am i wrong?

please i need your help i  dont know how to write a good paragraph ,so i need your help as soon as possible

Hello Elmelik,
That's quite a general question, so it's hard for me to give you a specific answer.
Do you have problems with putting short sentences together to make longer sentences?  If so, this may be useful for you.
Paragraphs are not all the same, of course, so what makes a good paragraph depends on the kind of text you're writing - different kinds of letters and emails, essays, reports, advertisements and so on.  If you can tell us what you're trying to write then we might be able to give you some more specific advice.
Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

hello,I'm trying again...:))please,could anybody tell me the difference between 'seriousness 'and 'earnestness'??what means 'seriousness is acceptable but earnestness is strictly forbidden...?

Hello Paula,
You asked the same question on another page and we answered it there. Please can you ask each question once only? It saves us time so we can help more users!
Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi everyone, I'm new to this site. Like the site very much, it's a very good platform for learning English and interactive with all the people around the world with different background. Hope I will enjoy learning here and do much as I can to contribute to the site. One again Thanks for the BC and his team, for their hard work, patient and spiritual in running the site. Well done!

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