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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 bany,

The first sentence is not a natural sentence. The reason is that the participle here acts as a reduced relative clause identifying which thing we are talking about. For example, we might say the following:

That is the dog living in the flat next to mine.

The participle phrase 'living in...' tells us which dog we mean: not any dog but a specific dog (the one which lives next to us).


Your sentence is illogical because you have already given a name which identifies you. It would make sense only if there were two people callled Kim Kiyani and you needed to identify which one you were. The sentence would be fine without a name:

I am the guy living in two blocks away from the club.

The context here would be that the listener knows about someone who lives two blocks away - perhaps you have spoken on the phone and mentioned it - and so this information can be used to identify which guy you are.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

"Mother will be cooking the dinner when we get home."
Is it incorrect to say in the sentence above, instead of "we get home", we will get home?

Hello Tad90,

Yes, it is incorrect. After time conjunctions we use a present verb form for future meaning. You can read more about this on this page.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hi everyone!
Which sentence is correct:
1. I enjoy my English course
2. I'm enjoying my English course

Hi Ilariuccia,

Both sentences are possible. The first sentence is an example of the present simple and describes a general feeling about the course - the speaker likes it. The second sentence is an example of the present continuous and describes the speaker's feeling at a particular moment. It is possible (if unlikely) that the speaker in the second sentence does not like the course overall but is enjoying it at that particular moment.

I hope that clarifies it for you.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Good day, I want to ask you guys which is better:
A. What are doing when the accident occured?
B. What were you doing when the accident occured?

Can you ask someone in both ways and which is better? Thx

Hello Aoll212,

A is not correct -- it lacks a subject ('you') and the present tense ('are') is incongruent with the past tense ('occurred'). B, however, is correct. Good work!

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Is the following sentence correct?
Tina, and not her parents, is organizing the party.

Hi naghmairam,

Yes, that sentence looks fine to me.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team


is "I told you he was coming" the same as "I told you that he would come"? If they are both correct: Is one more polite or more frequently used than the other? How is this grammar form called? Where can I find more about it? Thank you in advance.