Welcome to the Free English Lessons Blog Corner by Everywhere English. At Everywhere English, we are committed to your learning. As we focus on industry-specific English language lessons, we want to give you a head start with your skills.
In this blog series, we will cover a number of frequently asked questions in our lessons, such as the English tenses. This week, we’ll be starting with the present continuous, a hugely important and the most common tense used in the English language.
What is the Present Continuous
The present continuous tense is just how it sounds. It describes what a person is doing at that moment, but not for JUST that moment in time. When someone uses the present continuous, they are thinking about something that is unfinished or incomplete. It shows us when someone is doing something and will give us a better picture of what is going on.
The present continuous tense is normally used with two consecutive verbs. You will use the verb to be and the present participle of a verb. For the majority, a present participle of a verb is the verb with ing added to the end of the word.
Please note: You’ll notice that we’ll use words like “normally” and “majority”. There’s a reason! English is a tricky language, and in every rule, there will come an exception. You will come across these exceptions from time to time. When you do, please ask your tutor to explain. For the most part, unfortunately, it’s just a case of memorizing them.
When to use it
The present continuous tense can be used in five different instances:
- To describe an action that is going on at this moment. For example, I am doing my homework.
- To describe an action that is going on during this period of time or a trend. For example, businesses are becoming more and more international.
- To describe an action or event in the future, which has already been planned or prepared. For example, my boss is going on a business trip in July.
- To describe a temporary event or situation. For example, it’s raining today.
- With “always, forever, or constantly”, to describe and emphasize a continuing series of repeated actions. For example, I am always looking forward to seeing you.
The Affirmative Form
An affirmative form is when we use the present continuous tense in a positive format. This is the most used form, and as you can see, all of our examples above are in this form. The positive format that you should follow is:
Subject + to be + verb + ing
- I am running into town.
- You are loving this new apartment
- She is cooking dinner every night.
- We are going for lunch every Sunday.
The Negative Form
A negative form of the present continuous explains that the subject is not fulfilling the actions. Depending on the emphasis given when the subject is talking. The negative form could be in relation to the subject, verb, or noun. The negative format should be as follows:
Subject + not + to be + verb + ing
- I am not creating a new website.
- You are not helping me with my homework.
- She is not going on holiday to Spain.
- We are not leaving the country for a while.
To come back to the point about emphasis, let’s take one of the examples above to explain a little better. Take “I am not creating a new website”.
“I am not creating a new website”. It is assumed that someone else is creating a website.
“I am not creating a new website”. It is assumed that I am working on a current website.
“I am not creating a new website”. It is assumed that I am creating something else.
The Interrogative Form
The interrogative form of the present continuous tense is a fancy way of describing a question that uses the tens in the sentence. It normally comes across as a very generalized question as the time frame can be assumed to be vast. The interrogative form should follow:
To be + Subject + verb + ing + ?
- Am I going to the dentist today?
- Are you enjoying your new job?
- Is she cycling to work?
- Are we doing the presentation soon?
We hope you feel a little better about the present continuous tense and are looking forward to learning about the rest of them! Keep an eye out on our Instagram and Facebook accounts to get the first look at our next blogs.