[Tense] – Lesson 2: Present Progressive

Introduction

The present continuous tense (also called the present progressive tense) is commonly used in English for actions happening right now, or in the future. This post will explain the rules for forming the tense with regular verbs.

Form

affirmative negative question
I am playing. am not playing. Am I playing?
he, she, it He is playing. He is not playing. Is he playing?
you, we, they You are playing. You are not playing. Are you playing?

Exceptions in Spelling

Exeption Example
silent e is dropped before ing (but: ee is not changed) come – coming (but: agree – agreeing)
final consonant after short, stressed vowel is doubled sit – sitting
final consonant l after vowel is always doubled (in British English) travel – travelling
ie becomes y before ing lie – lying

Short Forms

positiv negativ
I am playing. – I‘m playing. I am not playing. – I‘m not playing.
He is playing. – He‘s playing. He is not playing. – He‘s not playing. / He isn’t playing.
We are playing. – We‘replaying. We are not playing. – We‘re not playing. /We aren’t playing.

Use

Use Example
actions taking place at the moment of speaking (now) He is playing football.
arrangements for the near future I’m going to the theatre tonight.
actions taking place only for a limited period of time Jim is helping in his brother’s firm this week.
actions taking place around now (but not at the moment of speaking) I’m studying for my exams.
development, changing situations The population of China is rising very fast.

Typical Signal Words

  • at the moment
  • now / just now / right now
  • Listen!
  • Look!
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