Present Continuous Tense

The use of the Present Continuous Tense is done more than often in English. There is a great difference between the Present Simple Tense and this. They differ in both, structure and use. Thus, we have compiled all the things you need to know about Present Continuous Tense. This article will help you get a better understanding of the tense. Further, with the examples and uses mentioned here, you will be able to use this tense correctly without any confusion. Let us start by knowing about the definition of this tense.

Present Continuous Tense

Definition of Present Continuous Tense

The Present Continuous Tense is a verb tense which we use to show that an ongoing action is occurring now. It can be either at the moment of speech or now in a larger sense. We also refer to present continuous as present progressive.

Further, we can also make use of present continuous to show that an action is going to happen in the near future. In other words, this verb tense denotes that an action or condition is happening now, frequently, or may continue in the future.

The formula for Present Continuous is-

to be [am, is, are] + verb [present participle]

Uncle Ted is cooking dinner while Linda looks for his new knife. They are playing at John’s favorite park today, Greenview Park.

Thus, you see how the present continuously adds energy and action to writing. Moreover, it impacts the reader’s understanding of when the action is occurring.

Using Present Continuous Tense

We must use the present continuous tense with the appropriate ‘to be’ verb and a dynamic verb. In other words, a dynamic verb indicates action and/or process. Let’s take a look at an example:

Raj’s younger brother is arriving at the restaurants one hour late because his football team, Amigos, won the national championships early today. As he is walking into Salt Restaurant, he is yelling goodbye to his teammates outside, and Raj hopes he doesn’t cause a scene since he is always embarrassing him in public.

Not Using Present Continuous Tense

Always remember to never use the present continuous tense with stative verbs. Stative verbs indicate a state of being which does not show qualities of change. These verbs can stay in the simple present. The example below can help you understand it better:

Incorrect: Uncle Ted is preferring the strawberry pastries over the chocolate ones that Linda loves.

Correct: Uncle Ted prefers the strawberry pastries over the chocolate ones that Linda loves.

Over here, the stative verb to prefer shows opinion and thus must not be conjugated into the present continuous. Stative verb categories comprise of emotion (to love), possession (to belong), and thoughts (to recognize), and none of these should make use of the present continuous form.

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Some verbs can be both, dynamic as well as stative! You can consider the verbs to be and to think. In the dynamic form of it, the verb to be may indicate action. For instance:

Tina, Aman’s younger sister, is being by ordering spicy ramen noodles.

However, in the stative form of it, the verb to be will be awkward if we conjugate it in the present continuous.

Incorrect: Tina is being a tall teenager, who loves her food spicy and her sports dangerous.

Correct: Tina is a tall teenager, who loves her food spicy and her sports dangerous

Present Continuous Forms

We form the present continuous by making use of am/is/are + present participle. In order to denote questions, we can invert the subject and am/is/are. Negatives are made with not.

Statement: You are playing football.

Question: Are you playing football?

Negative: You are not playing football.

Uses Present Continuous Tense

In order to clearly understand the present continuous, we must make sure to learn about its uses for getting a better idea of it.


Make use of the present continuous with normal verbs to convey the idea that something is occurring now, at this very moment. We can also use it to show that something is not taking place now.


  • You are studying French now.
  • You are not playing now.
  • Are you coming?
  • They are not drinking alcohol.
  • Why aren’t you doing your chores?

Longer Actions in Progress Now

When we talk about the English language, we see that ‘now’ can mean this second, this month, this year, this century and so on. More than often, we make use of the present continuous to say that we are in the process of doing a longer action which is in progress; however, we might not necessarily be doing it at this precise moment.

Examples: (All of these sentences can be said while eating lunch at a cafe.)

  • I am studying to become a lawyer.
  • I am not studying to become a doctor.
  • Aren’t you working at a multinational company now?
  • I am not watching any shows right now.

Near Future

Sometimes, we make use of the present continuous to indicate that something will or will not occur in the near future.


  • I am meeting some fans after the concert.
  • I am not going to the movies tonight.
  • Is she visiting his hometown next month?
  • Isn’t she coming with us today?

Repetition and Irritation with “Always”

The present continuous with words like “always” or “constantly” will express the idea that something irritating or shocking often happens. You will observe that the meaning is like a simple present, but with negative emotion. Make sure to put the words “always” or “constantly” between “be” and “verb+ing.”


  • He is always coming to class late.
  • She is constantly walking. I wish she would take some rest.
  • I don’t like them because they are always whining.

Tips and Tricks

Always remember non-continuous verbs/mixed verbs.

It is important to remember that one cannot use non-continuous verbs in any continuous tenses. In addition, specific non-continuous meanings for mixed verbs cannot be used in continuous tenses. Instead of making use of present continuous with these verbs, you must make use of use simple present.


Incorrect: He is loving this strawberry cheesecake.

Correct: She loves this strawberry cheesecake.

FAQ on Present Continuous Tense

Question 1: My brother  ____ French?

  1. Learn
  2. Is learning
  3. Learning

Answer 1: Option b- Is Learning.

Question 2: Why  _____ playing cricket tomorrow?

  1. He not is
  2. He isn’t
  3. Isn’t he

Answer 2: Option c- Isn’t he.

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2 responses to “Uses of Tenses”

  1. Edwin says:

    What is the present perfect form of “He does not smoke”?
    What is the difference between “He does not have to smoke” and “He has not smoked”?

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