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How to Use the Present Continuous

Video Overview

The present continuous tense or the present progressive is used to talk about things that are happening now and are expected to continue for at least a short time in the future or for actions that are temporary. This video will help you remember the grammar rules and formula for the present continuous in English and when to use it.

Video Analysis

We use the present continuous to talk about ongoing actions. The implication is that these actions are temporary even though they are happening now and though they are expected to continue into the future they will finish at some time. In this respect, it is similar to the Present Perfect and they are often used to communicate similar information. However, when we use the present simple we expect the action to always continue.

I study Spanish. (I study Spanish now and I expect to continue, I don't expect to stop)

I am studying Spanish. (I study Spanish now and expect to continue, I expect to stop studying Spanish in the future)

The present continuous is formed with a subject, am, is, are, and the present participle of the verb +ing

He is writing. - (subject + is + write + ing)

She is singing with the choir. (She is singing with the choir now, but she will stop at some point)

John is making dinner. (He is making dinner now, but he will stop making dinner because he will be finished)

In this way, we can say that the present continuous is used for present actions that are expected to continue and finish at some future time. To communicate a feeling or sensing something over a period of time. "I am feeling cold", " I am thinking about eating some ice cream". The process of feeling or thinking is happening now, and you will continue to feel cold and continue to think about the ice-cream until you stop and do something else.

The present continuous is also used to talk about future plans that are expected to begin in the future and continue to happen over a period of time. "I am studying Italian in the Summer", "I am arriving in the Airport at 9pm", the action is expected to begin and continue to happen.

It can also be used to express someone's habits when we add the phrases 'these days',' at the moment',  'always', 'forever' and 'constantly'.

He is always crying.

She is forever forgetting where she parked the car.

He is angry a lot these days.

Watch our video for more advice about when to use the present continuous and visit our write-up for more information.


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