Present Continuous Tenses in English

Learning Nov 26, 2022

Are you having a bit of trouble learning English? Then you should consider brushing up on your tenses. Tenses in English are very important because they help correctly form your sentences. 

Below are a few rules and guidelines you can follow to help improve your understanding of how to correctly form a present continuous tense sentence.

What are tenses in English?

Tenses are used to help place a time on a certain event. These tenses can be identified by simply looking at the verb and how the verb is being used in the sentence

There are three different types of verb tenses used in the English language, namely, past, present, and future tense. These tenses are important to know.

Another important thing is your attitude when using these tenses. Your attitude can have a positive or a negative impact on how the tense is used. Your attitude will also have an influence on how the person you are talking to feels.

What is present continuous tense? 

Present continuous tense is used to describe an action or event that is happening at this very moment. This grammatical tense is also used for actions or events that may happen in the future.

what is present continuous tense

Positive present continuous tense

The present continuous tense can be used in a positive way. To form a positive present continuous tense sentence, use the words is/ are/ am. These words help form the verb “to be”. You must also add an infinitive of a verb with the words ending in an -ing sound.

Structure for Present Continuous

auxiliary verb
main verb
base + ing

• Examples •

“He is busy studying and will call you back later.”

"The boys are playing hockey."

" I am looking for best online English classes to buy."

Negative present continuous tense  

It is also acceptable to use the present continuous tense in a negative way. All you must do is add the word, not before the verb ending with -ing.

Structure for Negative sentence

auxiliary verb
main verb
be + not
base + ing
am not

• Examples •

“She is not speaking fluently English”

"I am not attending conversaton course this afternoon."

" They are not walking alone to school today."

When should you NOT use present continuous tense? 

It is important to note that this tense can not be used for every and all actions or events that are happening right now. The present continuous tense is not used to describe actions or events happening regularly or over a long period of time.

For example, saying “I run 5 kilometers every day” is correct.

However, saying “I am running 5 kilometers every day” is not correct. BUT if this is a new habit then the grammatical sentence structure is correct.

Another no-no when using the present continuous tense is with the non-continuous verbs. Non-continuous verbs describe things that you cannot see someone doing. Examples of these verbs are, to cost, to love, to hate, to grieve, etc. It is advised that you rather use the present simple tense when you want to use these non-continuous verbs.

Example sentence: “This chocolate bar costs $5.”

We do not say, “This chocolate bar is costing $5.”

Find out how to use the present continuous in BBC drama , The Race: In episode 2 Phil starts his challenge - to sail around the world in 80 days. It's an impossible challenge because he has never sailed a yacht before...

Quiz Time: Present Simple vs Present Continuous Tense

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