Present Continuous/Progressive tense in English

Present Continuous/Progressive tense in EnglishWhen we use easy Present Continuous.

How it differs from “going to” and Present Simple.

Present Continuous/Progressive is a present tense for current activity. Its form is a finite be + present participle. Negative Present Continuous has am not / ‘m not, is not / isn’t, are not / aren’t before participle.

I’m working.

am/is/are + -ing
? +
is sb doing sth sb is doing sth sb isn’t doing sth



To take –ing

  • verbs in a consonant + -e drop it (except in being)

starve – starving

carve – carving

  • verbs in a stressed vowel + a consonant double the last consonant

rub – rubbing

stop – stopping

  • verbs in -ie change it to –y-

lie – lying

die – dying

  • verbs in a vowel + -l double it in British English

travel – travelling

cancel – cancelling

Present Continuous Meanings

  • ongoing actions

He’s doing his homework.

She’s giving the baby a bath right now.

  • temporary actions (around now)

I’m looking for a news job these days.

She’s doing a course in engineering.

The decorator’s painting the children’s bedrooms this week so they’re sleeping in the living-room.

  • annoying actions (with always/constantly/continually/all the time)

I’m always meeting Sara when I go shopping.

You’re constantly interrupting me when I’m talking.

  • changes (developing situations)

Venice is falling into the sea.

More and more species are becoming extinct.

The number of cars on roads is increasing rapidly each year.

  • emphatic wishes (strong emotionality)

I’m dying for a cup of coffee.

I’m loving it!

  • short-term arrangements (with a specific time/place)

He’s flying back on Saturday.

We’re driving up to Scotland next week.

They’re moving into their new house next week.

Future Present Continuous

In this future meaning Present Continuous denotes personal arrangements for social activities. A future time reference must be stated or contextually clear. In this informal usage subjects must be animate.

I’m meeting Charlotte for lunch tomorrow.

Going to

Future Present Continuous is close to the (be) going to expression for intention/prediction.

I’m going to Bob tomorrow.

It’s going to be dark in half an hour.

Going to takes no motion verbs like to go/come/visit/move.

We’re going to the movies tonight.

Going to’s informal shortening is gonna.

What’re you gonna do when they come for you?

Time Reference 

Present Continuous features adverbs/adverbials like

(right) now, at the/this moment, at present, these days, this week/month, still, nowadays, today, tonight