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.
We can use continuous aspect:
- with perfect aspect:
How long have you been sitting there?
I don't know how long she had been learning Spanish.
- with modal verbs:
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.
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
I've always liked John. (NOT