We all know the three main tenses, namely the past tense, the present tense, and the future tense. They are a verb-based method in English grammar that denotes the time when an action occurs.
Well, the above tenses are only the root forms. Each tense further has four different aspects that indicate the time of action in different ways. In this post, we will discuss one such aspect of the present tense, the present continuous tense. In a general sense, present continuous tense is a type of present tense that indicates an action happening currently or is ongoing in the present.
However, there are certain rules and ways to form a present continuous sentence. Let us get into a detailed discussion to learn them thoroughly.
What is present continuous tense?
Present continuous is one among the four different aspects of present tense. It is a verb tense that indicates an action or a verb occurring now or something that is unfinished and ongoing.
In simple words, present continuous tense is used when an action verb is currently in the process and has not ended yet. This is the reason it is also said to be present progressive tense.
Present continuous is a basic type of verb tense and forms sentences easily. However, there are some basics that one needs to adhere to.
To form a present continuous tense, we use the auxiliary verb to be. Then it is followed by the root form of the verb but with the suffix –ing. That means the verb ends with –ing, denoting that something is continuous.
The auxiliary verb to be is conjugated in the present form as am, is, are, and is used depending on the person we refer to. For instance
- I – am
- You, they – are
- He, she, It – is
So, the sentence follows a structure that comes with a subject, then the verb to be, and finally followed by the verb with a present participle.
Let us look at some sentences.
- I am swimming.
- She is playing with her dog.
- They are having lunch.
- I am writing right now.
Furthermore, we can use present continuous tense to form negative and question sentences as well.
To form a negative sentence, we simply use a negation not after the auxiliary verb and before the main verb.
- I am not playing right now.
- She is not going to play.
And to form a question sentence, we need to change the position of the auxiliary verb and place it at the beginning of a sentence. After that, the normal structure follows with a question mark at the end.
- Is she eating?
- Are they going to play?
Let us now quickly try to learn when present continuous tense is used.
To express actions occurring at the moment.
We are playing basketball.
To express temporary events.
She is living in Model town for the moment.
Fixed arrangements for the future.
They are going to Dubai in July.
These are some of the basic uses of present continuous tense. However, we should not use present continuous with stative verbs.