Present Continuous Tense: I am singing- Am I singing?- I’m not singing.
We often use the present continuous tense in English. It is very different from the simple present tense, both in structure and in use.
In this lesson we look the structure and use of the present continuous tense, followed by a quiz to check your understanding:
Continuous tenses are also called progressive tenses. So the present progressive tense is the same as the present continuous tense.
We use the present continuous tense to talk about:
1. action happening now
2. action in the future
Present continuous tense for action happening now
for action happening exactly now
I am eating my dinner.
The action is happening now.
Look at these examples.
Right now you are looking at this screen and at the same time...
...the pages are turning.
...the candle is burning.
...the numbers are spinning.
The action may not be happening exactly now, but it is happening just before and just after now, and it is not permanent or habitual.
John is going out with Mary.
The action is happening around now.
Look at these examples:
Muriel is learning to drive.
I am living with my sister until I find an apartment.
We can also use the present continuous tense to talk about the future—if we add a future word!! We must add (or understand from the context) a future word. "Future words" include, for example, tomorrow, next year, in June, at Christmas etc. We only use the present continuous tense to talk about the future when we have planned to do something before we speak. We have already made a decision and a plan before speaking.
I am taking my exam next month.
Look at these examples:
We're eating in a restaurant tonight. We've already booked the table..
They can play tennis with you tomorrow. They're not working.
When are you starting your new job?
In these examples, we have a firm plan or programme before speaking. The decision and plan were made before speaking.
Spelling rules for the Present Continuous Tense
We make the present continuous tense by adding -ing to the base verb. Normally it's simple—we just add -ing. But sometimes we have to change the word a little. Perhaps we double the last letter, or we drop a letter. Here are the rules to help you know how to spell the present continuous tense.
Just add -ing to the base verb:
assist>assisting see>seeing be>being
If the base verb ends in consonant + stressed vowel + consonant, double the last letter:
(vowels = a, e, i, o, u)
Note that this exception does not apply when the last syllable of the base verb is not stressed:
If the base verb ends in ie, change the ie to y:
If the base verb ends in vowel + consonant + e, omit the e:
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