Present Continuous Tense

Present Continuous Tense

The present continuous tense describes actions that are ongoing in the present moment. For instance,  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 Tense 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 Tense 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.