Sergey Sulimov


Sergey Sulimov


Present Continuous

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Present Continuous, or as it is also called Present Progressive, is the most used tenses one in English, along with Present Simple. Students may find it difficult to get to know this tense, because there are no analogues in Russian. Today we will go through formation and use all the nuances in detail, so that you can use Present Continuous (Present Continuous) in speech with confidence.

What is Present Continuous?

The Present Continuous tense emphasises the time an action length is taking place in the present, and this action time span can be either specific or indefinite..


Present Continuous typical uses

The action takes place at the speech moment, i.e., right now.

It is easier to realise that it is necessary to use this time, with the marker words help: now (сейчас), at present (в настоящее время), now (в этот момент), Look! (смотри), Listen! (слушай).

Listen! Your aunt is playing the violin.  — Послушай! Твоя тетя играет на скрипке.

The action is happening now, but it may not have started at the speech time.

In this case, marker words such as these days (в эти дни), currently (сейчас, в настоящее время).

I am currently working on a very interesting topic. — Сейчас я работаю над очень интересной темой (I am in the working process on this topic, I have been doing it for some time and will continue, but I am not necessarily busy with it at the speech time).

The action is temporary in nature.

Again, marker words can guide you: for (в течение), until (пока не), during (в течение). You are showing that the situation is temporary because you know it for sure or you can count on it.

She is working seven days a week for a month while her partner is ill. — Она работает без выходных в течение месяца, пока ее партнер на больничном (She’s working like this now, but it’s temporary until her partner recovers).

The action changes or gradually develops.

Pay attention to verbs such as change (меняться), get (становиться), rise (подниматься), become (становиться), grow (расти), fall (падать), improve (улучшаться), start (начинаться), begin (начинаться).

Your English is improving every day. — Твой английский улучшается с каждым днем (It didn’t get better at one point, it happens gradually, but at the current time).

The present continued tense above uses will suffice for beginners and intermediate levels of learning. But if you want to go further and make your speech more varied, you will need the following information..

Present Continuous special uses

The planned action will take place in the future.

You can only use Present Continuous to refer to an action in the future that you have definitely decided to do. You can use the following help words: this/next weekend/day/month/year (в эти / следующие выходные / день / месяц / год), tomorrow (завтра), today (сегодня), tonight (вечером).

I’m speaking at a conference next week. — Я выступаю на конференции на следующей неделе (already declared for the conference, materials prepared, fee paid, etc.).

This is also the case for actions in the near future, which are expressed by the movement verbs: go, leave, move, and come.

The train is coming in two minutes. — Поезд придет через две минуты (on schedule and it has already been announced at the station, the information is known for sure).

You are expressing dissatisfaction, irritation.

Usually words used in the sentence in this case are such as always (всегда), all the time (все время), and constantly (постоянно). This sentence can also be used in Present Simple, but it sounds more emotional in Continuous.

You are coming home late from work all the time! — Ты постоянно приходишь поздно домой после работы!

State verbs a difficult case.

State verbs: expressing feelings, attitudes and thought processes – in English they cannot be used in Present Continuous. But! If these verbs are polysemous and the second meaning denotes action, they can be used in the present continuous tense.

I feel good. — Я чувствую себя хорошо.

BUT! The doctor is feeling my forehead. — Доктор трогает мой лоб (проверяет температуру).

How Present Continuous is formed

The present continued tense is formed using the following formula:

Подлежащее + Вспомогательный глагол to be + Основной глагол-ing

The auxiliary verb to be takes a specific form depending on the subject.

I am freezing. — Я замерзаю.

You are freezing. — Ты замерзаешь.

He/she/it is freezing. — Он/она/оно замерзает.

You/they/we are freezing — Вы/они/мы замерзаете/-ют/-ем.

The personal pronoun and auxiliary verb are often abbreviated: I am → I’m, you are → you’re, he is → he’s, we are → we’re etc.

The tense form used is indicated by the auxiliary verb in combination with the main verb ending –ing.  The endings must also be attached according to certain rules..

Features the ending -ing addition in Present Continuous

Word typeAdding an ending featuresPresent Continuous examples 
Most verbsEnding -ing unchangedBurn→ burning (горю)Blow → blowing (дую)
Verb with the ending -eThe ending -e is dropped and -ing is addedShake → shaking (трясу)
Verb with the ending in -ie-ie → -y and -ing is addedPie → pying (смешиваю)
A verb ending in a consonant with a preceding stressed vowelThe last consonant is doubled and -ing is addedSlit → slitting (разрезаю вдоль)Regret → regretting (сожалею)

Present Continuous: question, assertion, denial

In Present Continuous, the sentence different forms formation rule is generally the same as in other tenses and English general rules.

For example, in an affirmative sentence, the order given in the previous paragraph is followed:

Subordinate + Auxiliary verb + Main verb and ending -ing.

Anne is driving now. Don’t bother her! — Энн сейчас ведет машину. Не отвлекайте ее!

To construct a simple question sentence, you need to change the word order and put the auxiliary verb first: Auxiliary verb + Subject + Main verb-ing?

Is Anne driving now? — Энн сейчас ведет машину?

To answer such a question, the short answer is most often used: Yes, she is. / No, she isn’t. In order to make an interrogative sentence with a special question, it is necessary to put a question at the very beginning, before the auxiliary verb.

We are going home now. Where are we going now? — Мы идем домой сейчас. Куда мы идем сейчас?

And finally, to construct a negative sentence, you need to add the particle not, which is placed between the auxiliary and the main verb:

             Subject + Auxiliary verb + not + The main verb-ing.

Anne is not driving now. — Энн сейчас не ведет машину.

In informal speech, you can use negation a short form: isn’t, aren’t.

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