Present continuous: talking about actions in progress

To understand the present continuous well, you need to understand the verb to be

What do we use the present continuous for?

We use the present continuous to talk about actions in progress now

I am writing a new article for the Guardian right now

I am currently staying at my girlfriend´s flat

I am currently doing a German course on Upverb.com

I am working in a bank at the moment

 

We use the present continuous to talk about temporary situations

My parents are saving for a new holiday home

I am living in Madrid at the moment

 

Hint: it is very different to say

I live in London = I intend to stay in London

I am living in London = It is only for a short time

 

We use the present continuous to talk about annoying or irritating situations

You are always arriving late to work!

You are always complaining!

 

We use the situations to talk about amusing situations

You are always telling the funniest stories

You are forever kidding around

 

Warning: actually does not mean now, it means in fact/reality

We use the word CURRENTLY to say now/right now

 

Warning: we do not use the phrase, in this moment

Now = at the moment

 

 

We do not usually use the present continuous for stative verbs: these are not actions

 

AGREE APPEAR BELIEVE BELONG CONCERN
CONSIST CONTAIN DEPEND DESERVE DISAGREE
DISLIKE DOUBT FEEL FIT HATE
HEAR IMAGINE IMPRESS INCLUDE INVOLVE
KNOW LIKE MATTER MEAN MIND
NEED PREFER SEEM UNDERSTAND WANT

For example, it would be strange to say:

I am liking playing tennis. We would simply say, I like playing tennis.

I am wanting to buy a new car. We would say, I want to buy a new car.

 

Form: how to make your own sentences

+ I am working at a language school at the moment

– I am not listening to music at the moment

? Are you doing your homework right now?

 

 

KEY WORDS
NOW, RIGHT NOW, AT THE MOMENT, TODAY, CURRENTLY

 

The affirmative

SUBJECT EXAMPLE
I I am doing my homework now.
YOU You are listening to music right now.
HE He is watching TV right now.
SHE She is eating a sandwich at the moment.
IT It is happening at the moment.
THEY They are currently talking on the phone.
WE We are currently reading the newspaper.

 

Contractions

SUBJECT EXAMPLE
I I’m doing my homework now.
YOU You’re listening to music right now.
HE He’s watching TV right now.
SHE She’s eating a sandwich at the moment.
IT It’s happening at the moment.
THEY They’re currently talking on the phone.
WE We’re currently reading the newspaper.

 

The negative

SUBJECT EXAMPLE
I I am not doing my homework now.
YOU You are not listening to music right now.
HE He is not watching TV right now.
SHE She is not eating a sandwich at the moment.
IT It is not happening at the moment.
THEY They are not currently talking on the phone.
WE We are not currently reading the newspaper.

 

Contractions

SUBJECT EXAMPLE
I I’m not doing my homework now.
YOU You aren’t listening to music right now.
HE He isn’t watching TV right now.
SHE She isn’t eating a sandwich at the moment.
IT It isn’t happening at the moment.
THEY They aren’t currently talking on the phone.
WE We aren’t currently reading the newspaper.

 

Questions

AUXILIARY SUBJECT EXAMPLE
AM I Am I doing my homework correctly?
ARE YOU Are you learning English at the moment?
IS HE Is he playing the piano now?
IS SHE Is she eating fruit now?
IS IT Is it working correctly?
ARE THEY Are they looking for a job?
ARE WE Are we driving to work right now?

 

Practice questions:

  1. What are you doing right now?
  2. Are you studying at university?
  3. What are you doing at the moment at work?
  4. Where are you currently living?
  5. Are you thinking of changing job soon?

PRACTICE SPEAKING IN OUR ENGLISH COURSES

Download exercises in PDF

(NEW) GRAMMAR: PRESENT CONTINUOUS (A1-B2)

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