What is the present progressive tense?
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The “present continuous” is also called “present progressive” or present in be + ing”.
We use it to express something that happens while we are talking, an action in progress (or in progress).
The verb to be conjugated in the present tense (Be) + the verbal basis of the verb that interests us to which we add the ending -ing :
subject + am / is / are + verbal basis + ing
- I am doing
- he / she / it is going
- we / you / they are working
The contracted form of Be is often used:
- I’m doing. She’s going. We’re working.
What is the purpose of the continuous present (or progressive present)?
BE + ING is used to express:
An action that is happening as we speak and that is not yet over:
- Linda is making a cake now.
- He’s listening to the radio.
Something planned for the near future and for which the date is already set:
- He is going to London on Friday.
- He’s visiting his family this week-end.
A temporary action:
- Her mother is working in Rome this month.
- He’s staying at his friend’s place tonight.
An action that takes time and takes place as we speak:
- My brother is preparing for his exams.
A trend, a fashion or a change that is happening now or these days:
- More and more people are using internet to watch movies.
Repeated actions that irritate/make angry (with always, constantly, forever):
- Nathan is always coming late.
- Tina is constantly smoking.
Ongoing actions that do not necessarily happen as we speak:
- I’m reading a good book at the moment.
- John is at the University. He’s studying biology.
- What is she doing these days?
When we talk about changes that are happening now, we often use the following verbs with the continuous present tense:
become / start / rise / get / grow / begin / fall / improve / increase / decrease / change
- The population of Japan is decreasing.
- This situation is getting worse.
- Your english is getting better every day.
- The cost of living is rising every year.
- The world is changing very fast.
The negative form:
Just add NOT between the auxiliary and the verb:
- I am not watching a movie. (or I’m not…)
- He / she / it is not watching a movie. (or He’s not…)
- We / you / they are not watching a movie. (or We’re not…)
Ex: I’m not eating at the restaurant for lunch. He’s not listening to the radio anymore.
The interrogative form:
Easy! we put the auxiliary before the subject:
- Am I watching a movie?
- Is he / she / it watching a movie?
- Are we / you / they watching a movie?
Ex: Are you working on your computer now?
In general, continuous present is easy since it is simply necessary to add -ing to the verbal base:
- Go ⇒ Going
But beware of some verbs that change when you add -ing to the verbal base:
Doubling of consonants:
- sit : he is sitting
- put : he is putting
- travel : travelling
- get : getting
Verbs ending in -e:
You have to remove the -e at the end and replace it with -ing:
- write : he is writing
- take : he is taking
- drive: she’s driving
Verbs ending with two ‘e’ do not change!
- see : she is seeing ( = she’s seeing)
- pee: he is peeing ( = he is peeing)
Verbs that end in -ie:
It is necessary to replace the’ie’ by ‘y’.
- lie : he is lying ( = he’s lying)
- die: he is dying ( = he’s dying)
Verbs that end in -c
It is necessary to change the ‘c’ to ‘ck’.
- picnic : he is picnicking
- panic : he’s panicking
We often use be+ing when we have the following words in the sentence, at the moment we speak:
- At the moment
- These days
- This week
- This year