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Present continuous tense in English

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The present continuous tense in English is used to describe an action or event that is taking place in that moment. 

Structure and rules of the present continuous tense

The present continuous tense consists of two parts: 

  1. The present tense of the verb 'to be'. 
  2. The verb + the suffix '-ing'

Present continuous tense examples:

  • He is working at the supermarket right now.
  • I am calling my mother now. 

The table below shows the conjugation of the verb 'to be'. 

SubjectPresent tense of the verb to be
Iam
Youare
He / she / itis
Weare
Youare
Theyare

How the present continuous tense is formed, depends on whether the sentence is:

  1. Affirmative: expresses the truth of a certain assertion.
  2. Negative: expresses the falsity of a certain assertion. 
  3. Interrogative: expresses a question.

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1. Affirmatives

Structure: subject / pronoun + form of 'to be' + verb + suffix '-ing' + rest of the sentence 

Examples:

  • I am walking to school. 
  • He is cooking a meal for his family. 
  • They are drinking beer in a bar. 

2. Negatives 

Structure: subject / pronoun + negative form of 'to be' + verb + suffix 'ing' + rest of the sentence

The table below shows the conjugation of the verb 'to be' in the negative form.

SubjectVerb 'to be'
Iam not
Youare not
He / she / itis not
Weare not
Youare not
Theyare not

Examples:

  • I am not watching television now. 
  • He is not paying attention in class today. 
  • We are not paying for your meal this time.

3. Interrogatives

Structure: form of the verb 'to be' + subject / pronoun + verb + suffix '-ing' + rest of the sentence + question mark

Examples:

  • Are you coming to the party tonight?
  • Is he really studying now?
  • Are they running in the woods? 

Usage of the present continuous in English 

The table below shows the situations in which the present continuous is used. 

Situation Example
You want to describe an action or event that takes place at that exact moment.
  • Toby is doing his homework right now. 
  • She is watching TV. 
You want to describe an action or event that is happening now, but not necessarily during the conversation. 
  • Tim is studying Economics. 
  • I am learning Spanish. 
You want to describe an action or event that is already scheduled, but is not happening right now.
  • I am meeting my friend on Sunday. 
  • He is not coming to work next week. 
You want to describe a temporary event or a temporary situation.
  • Normally he goes to school, but he's working at a supermarket now. 
  • The weather in Valencia is always good, but it's raining at the moment.
You want to describe and emphasize a continuous series of repeated actions. Often combined with words as 'always, forever, constantly.'
  • He is always complaining about his work. 
  • Robert and Elisa are constantly arguing. 

Signal words present continuous 

You can recognize the use of the present continuous tense when the sentence contains words as:

  • Now
  • Right now 
  • Just now
  • At the moment
  • Listen! 
  • Look!
  • In the morning
  • In the afternoon
  • Tomorrow
  • Next Monday, Tuesday et cetera

enlightenedThere are some verbs that normally don't appear in the present continuous, because they refer to a status and not to an action or event:

  • To look 
  • To hear
  • To imagine 
  • To forget 
  • To think
  • To smell
  • To taste 
  • To seem 
  • To doubt 
  • To consider 
  • To hope
  • To hate
  • To feel 
  • To dislike
  • To fear
  • To envy
  • To hold
  • To cost
  • To be 
  • To regret
  • To like
  • To know 
  • To prefer
  • To mind
  • To love
  • To notice 
  • To mean
  • To have 
  • To measure 
  • To want
  • To feel (as in 'to think)
  • To weigh
  • To suppose
  • To find (as in 'to consider)
  • To contain 
  • To believe 
  • To assume
  • To wish
  • To understand 
  • To remember 
  • To recognize 

Do the exercises below to test your knowledge of the present continuous. 


Exercises

  1. Fill in the correct form of the English present continuous
  2. Fill in the correct English form of to be
  3. Complete the sentences with the English present continuous
  4. Fill in the English present continuous

Fill in the correct form of the English present continuous


Fill in the correct English form of to be


Complete the sentences with the English present continuous


Fill in the English present continuous


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My name is Barbara.

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I’m very happy with my teacher! Barbara is so kind, helpful and she has a lot of knowledge to share. She is preparing me for some English exams, it is going quicker and better than I expected. Thank you so much!!!!!!!!
Barbara B. Barbara B.
Thanks so much for the kind words Em! It takes two. You really put your heart and mind to your goal. Very well done. Keep up the good work and you will see the results. See you in class :-)

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Good day there...

My name is Teresa (Teacher Tess), and I live in South Africa

I manage an afterschool care centre called “The Lighthouse”
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Having taught children of various ages over the years before this, I have decided that this is my favourite age group. They are so loving and not afraid to show how they feel.
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Teresa was so polite, knowledgeable and well prepared. She made the lesson super fun for my son, and he learnt so much even though it was such a short time. Well done on recruiting such a gem!
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Elisabetta is a teacher who manages to convey love for her work. It follows you on your path of growth and strongly supports you. He follows different teaching methods according to the needs and priorities of the moment. Punctual, precise and super helpful. That's what I was looking for! Thanks
Translated by Google Translate
Elisabetta . Elisabetta .
Thank you very much dear, I send you a hug :)
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The teacher is always on time and uses perfect learning materials to learn the language. Very prepared in what she teaches and in the way she does it; very useful lessons!
Translated by Google Translate
Alessia T. Alessia T.
Thank you Hilary!

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Hello, my name is Corinne and I am a qualified ESL English teacher from England. I have been teaching in classrooms and online for over 3 years and I have many satisfied students. My lessons generally consist of a mixture of conversation and set exercises to help to improve both vocabulary and grammar. I encourage a lot of talking from my students and I give instant written correction so that they are able to recognise any grammatical errors they are making. I take note of repeated mistakes and set exercises for following lessons to address these mistakes accordingly. You will quickly notice an increase in your confidence in speaking English from our lessons, your vocabulary will increase and your grammar and sentence structure will improve. Together, we will reach your goals.

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Corinne P. Corinne P.
Thank you, Danilo. It is always a pleasure having lessons with you and I have enjoyed our many conversations together. And what a joy that over time they have become easier for both of us to understand! :D

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Hi! I've been teaching Dutch, Spanish and Italian for many years, in The Netherlands, for private institutes, for the integration of foreigners into society, and online from Italy, where I currently live.

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Serious and professional. Very clear in the explanation and very patient in explaining the uncertainties. Path taken constructive. I am very satisfied.
Elena P. Elena P. IT
Hi Vanessa and thank you for your feedback! I am happy to know that you are satisfied and to witness your progress, class after class. It's a pleasure to work with you!

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I am a BELIEVER!. Each of you has something to share, give and communicate with others. It's my job to help you do just that!.
English shouldn't be scary. Let me help you become more fluid and spontaneous. Let's break those barriers you've built over time and git rid of those nasty limitations you've created.
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Marissa is a very professional teacher who can put the student at ease. It is precise, effective and oriented towards achieving the objectives: highly recommended.
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Marissa F. Marissa F.
Thanks so much Paola!!! I LOVE working with you guys and have enjoyed every moment. Even after this brief period, we can already start to see some changes. :-)

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After living and working in the UK and Germany for many years, I moved to Spain where I have been living for the past sixteen years. Certified in London, I taught for language schools in Frankfurt and worked freelance in Spain teaching all levels. I try to get my students to talk as much as possible because in my experience there is often so much emphasis on learning all language rules that being able to communicate disappears into the background. Depending on the student´s goal, I adjust my classes so that we can achieve that goal as much as possible!

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Very happy with teacher Eline! The lesson was very well prepared and a lot of fun. I recommend her to anyone who wants to learn the English language.
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Eline E. Eline E. NL
Thank you for your feedback Noelle, I will continue to do my very best for you!
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Hello my dear future student!
It doesn’t matter how old you are, what is your level of a foreign language and why you want to learn it. If you are already here, then you are ready to plunge into the world of other cultures and this is without any doubt a really cool thing.
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I love languages and I want to make YOU loving them as much as I do.
Let's start this adventure together cause "there's no better time than now".
See you soon!

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Very good teacher. Listening to our expectations, give good explanations and always smiling. Very flexible in terms of schedules!
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Krystyna K. Krystyna K. UA
Thank you Kelly! The pleasure is mine to work with you :)

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I am an experienced English tutor specialized in IELTS and TOEFL exam preparation. My main focus is on speaking and writing section with additional focus or reading and listening.I offer a result oriented learning plan to achieve your desired score. The student will have homework after every lesson and ample opportunity to practice speaking during the lesson. I prepare a custom learning plan for every student depending on their present English level. I am an easy going and jovial personality and i make the lessons interesting by including real life examples. The student can expect smooth learning to achieve their goal. I also teach basic conversational English and prepare students for interview or presentation. For further information , the students are requested to take the trial lesson and contact me by message.

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Great teacher, lovely person, smart and open minded. I also like the fact that he is aware of cultural differences and his methodology of teaching is actually so effective. I was very happy to have selected him, he did an amazing job! If you are looking for a teacher who knows exactly what you should know before the exam, I strongly recommended contacting Tapas. He will show you the ingredients needed to write a good essay, report and proposal and pay attention to the rules of constructing statements in specific parts required during the exam. I Highly recommend him if you are looking for....
Tapas  D. Tapas D.

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I am very good with beginners and intermediate students. I help with pronunciation, learning new vocabulary and grammar. I always offer corrections and offer endless speaking opportunities.

I enjoy teaching and more than anything I enjoy teaching English, but as much as I teach I am always looking for an opportunity to learn. I allow myself to learn something from my students as many times as they are willing to teach. Together with my students, we create an atmosphere of on-going conversation around our class topic.

I have a Bachelor of English degree, as well as a 120-HOUR TEFL Certificate. I am mostly fluent in English, as it has the language medium throughout my entire life and school career.

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My experience with teacher Comfort was excellent. She is patient, kind and explains in a way that is very easy to understand, giving you support tools for learning. I highly recommend her. Thank you so much Comfort.
Comfort A. Comfort A.

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Hi! My name is Consuelo and I am a professional teacher and translator. I live in Italy with my husband and my son on the East coast south of Ancona
I can help you learn English, Italian, and Spanish.
I have got a Bachelor degree and a master on Translation and I have been teaching for over 20 years students of all ages.
I can help you with the Language as a school subject or if you need to learn it for a trip or for a job. As a matter of fact I am very well acquainted with business companies and I can give you a few interesting tips.
My classes are usually one-to-one or in very small group so that it is possible to modulate them according to the student’s needs and specific situation.
Being married to a mental coach, I am highly specialized in motivating students and providing the best techniques to make learning more interesting and long-lasting.

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I finally found my solution because of the many work commitments. Excellent material, patient and very helpful teacher
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Consuelo C. Consuelo C. IT

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Hello!
I believe learning should be fun and interactive!

I would love to help you in any way I can, to improve your knowledge of English.
I love making beginners feel comfortable, and developing conversations or grammar with those who are more experienced in English!
I am very used to teaching children whose second language is English.

I love teaching and watching children come alive with individual attention, and tailoring my teaching style to their personalities. I enjoy being animated with my students!
I am comfortable teaching children and adults.
I am a South African and have a Business degree. I worked in Finance and Marketing for 7 years for Volkswagen South Africa.
I am extroverted and I love people!
I have homeschooled my children from the 2nd grade through to the 7th grade.
I have taught Life Skills to 8 year olds at a Primary School for three years.
Currently, I tutor 1st and 2nd graders at a school where the children are learning in English as a SECOND language.
I believe my personality, teaching experience and work ethic make me a great teacher!
Best Regards
Christine Rafferty

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Cristina it's very funny and smilimg Person! Her english Is clear! Very good lesson with her! Thanks Cristina!!
Christine R. Christine R.

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Hello! My name is Ivana and I come from Serbia.
I am a med student, also I am an active Red Cross volunteer. I worked with both children and adults. If you need some help with reading, listening, writing or speaking in Serbian or English, feel free to contact me. I am looking forward to meeting you. :)

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She is a kind girl , professional and will give you attention and everything you need . Was a great lesson.
Ivana M. Ivana M. RS

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