Present continuous

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The present continuous, also called the present progressive, is one of the present tenses used in modern English, the others being the simple present and the emphatic present. All of these can be employed in both the indicative and subjunctive moods.

Common uses

The present continuous is used in several instances:

  • To describe something which is happening at the exact moment of speech:
The boy is crying.
  • To describe an action that is taking place now but not at the exact moment of speech:
He is working in Dubai.
  • To describe an event planned in the future:
I'm resitting my French exam on Tuesday.
  • With always but meaning often (used to emphasize the frequency of an action in a humorous or hyperbolic way):
My mother is always making me go to school!
She is always playing with that doll!
  • To describe an action that is taking place now and is subject to interruption:
Ellen cannot come to the phone since she is sleeping.


To form the present continuous, one uses the appropriate conjugation of to be from the simple present and puts the present participle of the chosen verb after. For example:

He is playing

When using the interrogative with the present continuous, one does not use the verb to do as with the simple present, rather, one swaps the positions of the conjugation of to be and the present participle. For example:

Am I annoying you? which is to ask whether I am annoying you.

See also

External links