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Present continuous

Level: beginner

The present continuous is made from the present tense of the verb be and the –ing form of a verb:

I am working
You are playing
He is talking
She is living
It is eating
We are staying
They are sleeping

We use the present continuous to talk about:

  • activities at the moment of speaking:

I'm just leaving work. I'll be home in an hour.
Please be quiet. The children are sleeping.

Present continuous 1

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Present continuous 2

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  • future plans or arrangements:

Mary is going to a new school next term.
What are you doing next week?

Present continuous 3

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Present continuous 4

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Present continuous questions

We make questions by putting am, is or are in front of the subject:

Are you listening?
Are they coming to your party?
When is she going home?
What am I doing here?

Present continuous questions 1

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Present continuous questions 2

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Present continuous negatives

We make negatives by putting not (or n't) after am, is or are:

I'm not doing that.
You aren't listening.
(or You're not listening.)
They aren't coming to the party. (or They're not coming to the party.)
She isn't going home until Monday. (or She's not going home until Monday.)

Present continuous negatives 1

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Present continuous negatives 2

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Stative verbs

We do not normally use the continuous with stative verbs. Stative verbs include:

  • verbs of thinking and feeling:
believe
dislike
know
like
love
hate
prefer
realise
recognise
remember
suppose
think
(= believe)
understand
want
wish

 
  • verbs of the senses:
appear
feel
look
seem
smell
sound
taste
 
  • others:
agree
be
belong
disagree
need
owe
own
possess

We normally use the simple instead:

I understand you. (NOT I am understanding you.)
This cake tastes wonderful. (NOT This cake is tasting wonderful.)

Level: intermediate

We also use the present continuous to talk about:

  • something which is happening before and after a specific time:

At eight o'clock we are usually having breakfast.
When I get home the children are doing their homework.

  • something which we think is temporary:

Michael is at university. He's studying history.
I'm working in London for the next two weeks.

  • 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?

  • something which is changing, growing or developing:

The children are growing up quickly.
The climate is changing rapidly.
Your English is improving.

  • something which happens again and again:

It's always raining in London.
They are always arguing.
George is great. He's always laughing.

Note that we normally use always with this use.
 

Present continuous 5

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Level: advanced

We can use the present continuous to talk about the past when we are:

  • telling a story:

The other day I'm just walking down the street when suddenly this man comes up to me and asks me to lend him some money. Well, he's carrying a big stick and he looks a bit dangerous, so I'm wondering what to do …

  • summarising a book, film or play:

Harry Potter is a pupil at Hogwarts school. One day when he is playing Quidditch he sees a strange object in the sky. He wonders what is happening

Basic level

Comments

My English teacher she said that sentence is correct.
He usually sits down and uses computer. not ......He usually sits down and is using a computer
What do you think?

Hello AvramCiprian,

The first sentence is correct (though we shoudl say 'a computer') if we are talking about his general behaviour.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

I'm just started to learn grammar English.In this case which sentence is correct:
He usually sits down and is using a computer
He usually sitting down and is using a computer

Hello AvramCiprian,

The first sentence is correct. With adverbs of frequency such as 'usually' we use the present simple rather than continuous.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

which sentence is correct:
I'm look at that girl. She wearing a nice jackets.
I'm look at that girl. She is wearing a nice jackets.
I'm looking at that girl. She wears a nice jackets

Hello AvramCiprian,

None of them are correct! I imagine (though it's hard to be certain without knowing the context) that the sentence you're looking for is:

I'm looking at that girl. She is wearing a nice jacket.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello
i just want to know
What is the different between
this:When I get home the children are doing their homework.
and
this: When i get home the children were doing their homework
i guess 2nd one is correct

Hello Norek,

The first sentence is correct and describes a typical situation: each time you get home, the children are in the middle of doing their homework.

The second sentence is incorrect. You would need to say 'When I got home the children were...' and it would then describe not a typical situation but one particular situation in the past.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi
kindly which one more correct between these two sentences:
1- She's buying a new laptop on Thursday.
2- she will buy a new laptop on thursday.
and which one preffered to use?

Hello ismail76,

That really depends on what you mean. Please see our talking about the future for an explanation of how the different forms are used.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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