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The present continuous tense in English

by Jafor Salah
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The English language has 2 different present tenses:

The present simple
The present continuous (also called present progressive)
Both tenses are quite different in both form and meaning and in this English grammar lesson, I will explain the present continuous.

Form
Affirmative
subject + verb “to be” + ing form of the verb

I am working
you are working
he / she / it is working
we are working
you are working
they are working

The verb “to be” part is acting as an auxiliary verb. That means that it is helping or assisting the main verb. The verb “to be” is in the present simple form.
The main verb (work, for example) is in the “ing form” of the verb.

Question form
verb “to be” + subject + ing form of the verb + “?”

am I working?
are you working?
is he / is she / is it working?
are we working?
are you working?
are they working?

In the question form, the order of the subject and verb “to be” is reversed and we add a question mark (?) to the end of the sentence.

Negative form

subject + verb “to be” + “not” + ing form of the verb
I am not working
you are not working
he / she / it is not working
we are not working
you are not working
they are not working

For the spelling rules of the ing form, see the following lesson: ing form lesson

Uses and meaning of the present continuous
Actions in progress / Actions happening right now
We use the present continuous to specifically describe our actions right now. We are not talking in general. We are not describing a regular action.
We are describing what is currently happening:

She is eating an apple

She is eating an apple. correct

In this context, this is wrong:

She eats an apple. wrong

(This is the present simple. We do not use the present simple to describe a specific current action)

More examples:

You look sad. Why are you crying? correct
You look sad. Why do you cry? wrong

The dog is in the garden. He is chasing the cat. correct
The dog is in the garden. He chases the cat. wrong

Progressive change / actions that are evolving

We use the present continuous to describe the progressive change of something over time. We are giving a commentary of the gradual change that is really happening now.

Examples:

The price of gold is increasing
The price of gold is increasing. correct
The price of gold increases. wrong

I need to go on a diet. I am getting fatter. correct
I need to go on a diet. I get fatter. wrong

The climate is getting warmer. correct
The climate gets warmer. wrong

Future plans and arrangements
We can use the present continuous verb tense with a future time expression to describe plans and arrangements in the future. We do not use the present simple because the present simple is not for specific actions.
The form is the present continuous but we are referring to the future. This is very common in English.
Examples:

What are you doing tomorrow? correct
What do you do tomorrow? wrong

I am going to London next week.
I am going to London next week. correct
I go to London next week. wrong

In the above examples, “tomorrow” and “next week” are the future time expressions. Other common future times expressions are as follows:
next Wednesday
next month
next year

Learn English, Easy Way to learn English Grammar, How to learn Present Continuous tense, We describe easy way to learn present continuous tense you can learn from here. The present continuous tense in English

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