Present Continuous Tense
The present continuous tense describes actions that are ongoing in the present moment. For instance, when you say “I walk to school,” you mean, the way I normally get to school is by walking. I don’t drive or ride my bike. On the other hand, you use the present continuous tense — “I am walking to school” — to express the fact that right now, at this moment, you are walking.
Sometimes, you use the present continuous tense to describe an ongoing process rather than an action taking place at this exact moment in time.
- I am studying to be a doctor.
- She is learning French.
Forming the Present Continuous Tense
You form the present continuous tense by combining the auxiliary verb “to be” with the -ing form of the root verb.
- I am studying for my test.
- The movie is playing for another hour.
- We are giving them another chance to prove themselves.
Making the Present Continuous Negative
In order to make the present continuous tense negative, you form a negative with the auxiliary verb.
- I am not driving while I talk on the phone.
- They aren’t launching their spring line this year.
- He isn’t bringing his mother to the basketball game.
Phrasing the Present Continuous as a Question
To ask a question in the continuous present, begin with the appropriate form of the auxiliary verb “to be,” followed by the subject and the -ing form of the root verb. Interrogatives can also begin with adverbs expressing time or place.
- Aren’t you dieting this month?
- Why aren’t you swimming your laps?
- Where are we walking this morning?
Learn about all of the verb tenses.