The Present Continuous

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Welcome to your Present Continuous lesson! In this topic we talk about:

• What is the Present Continuous?

• When do we use the Present Continuous?

• Some key words.

• Describing change.

Take the quizzes when you’re ready! If you’re having problems, use the comment box to contact our English Teachers.

What is the Present Continuous?

Here are a few examples of present continuous sentences:

James is gardening.

He is wearing a blue t-shirt.

Unlike the present simple, the present continuous uses auxiliaries in every type of sentence, including affirmative sentences.

I → am
He / She / It → is
You / We / They → are

When do we use the Present Continuous?

The present continuous is used when the subject is currently doing the action that is in the sentence. So it means that the subject has started doing something, and they haven’t finished yet:

I‘m writing a book.

Shhh! She‘s sleeping.

We‘re working at the moment.

They‘re sunbathing.

Sometimes, the action isn’t happening “right now” but rather “around now”. Have a look at this sentence:

I want to go to Japan, so I‘m learning Japanese.

The speaker isn’t necessarily in front of their Japanese text books, learning Japanese right now. They could be learning Japanese “around now”. Here are a few more examples:

I put on too much weight during the holidays, so I‘m exercising every day.

It’s really busy at work at the moment. I‘m working ten-hour shifts.

Some key words

To define times “around now” you can use the following key words: today / this week / this month / this year

I’m not feeling very well today.

She’s staying in a hotel this week.

They’re touring Africa this month.

My football team is doing really well this year.

Describing change

The present continuous is also used to describe changes around now. Here are some useful verbs to describe change:

become / begin / change / fall / get / grow / improve / increase / rise / start


  • The present continuous is used to talk about what’s happening now.
  • The auxiliaries are am, is and are. They are used in all types of sentence.
  • The present continuous is also used to talk about things happening “around now”.

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