What is Present Continuous Tense?

The present tense is used when describing an action that is currently happening or an event that occurs regularly. The present tense comprises three aspects: simple present, present continuous and present perfect.

The present continuous (or present progressive) tense is a way to convey any action or condition happening right now, frequently, and may be ongoing. It’s formed by using the present tense of the verb be (am/are/is) with the present participle of a dynamic verb. Dynamic verbs indicate an action, and the present participle is formed by adding the suffix ‘-ing.’

When to use the present continuous tense

The present continuous tense is used to write about events or actions that are happening currently, continuously, or ongoing. It adds a sense of immediate energy and effort to writing, and its effect helps readers understand when the action is happening.

You can use the present continuous tense to:

  • Describe something that’s happening right now, at this moment: “You are dancing the Macarena.”
  • Describe an ongoing situation or trend: “People are still dancing the Macarena.”
  • Describe an action plan for the future: “My boyfriend and I are dancing in the Macarena competition tonight.”
  • To describe a temporary situation: “We normally dance the Macarena, but we’re trying the Cha-Cha Slide tonight.”
  • To describe a continuous occurrence of the same event using words like ‘always,’ ‘forever,’ or ‘constantly’: “We’re always doing the Macarena; we thought we’d try something different.”

Some Examples of Present Continuous Tense

Here are a few simple examples of present continuous tense that your students can use to identify and perfect the formula of this tense form:

  • I am writing articles on different topics.
  • He is reading various kinds of books.
  • They are playing football now.
  • She is drinking coffee.
  • He is going to the library.
  • We are coming to shopping in this market.
  • We are watching a movie in this Cineplex.
  • You are shopping in that market.

What is the formula of present continuous tense?

An easy way to learn how to use the present continuous tense is to learn a simple formula that can be applied to your student’s writing activities. Read below for a clear basic recipe for the present continuous tense.

*to be [am, is, are] + verb [present participle]


The boys play ball after school.

They are eating at Scott’s favorite restaurant today

They are sitting at Scott’s favorite booth, the one with the sparkling red plastic seats.

  • *First-person singular: I am
  • *Second-person singular: You are
  • *Third-person singular: He/She/It is
  • *First-person plural: We are
  • *Second-person plural: You are
  • *Third-person plural: They are

You can use this table to construct sentences with the present continuous tense until your students are comfortable with using this tense form.

Pronoun To Be Common Dynamic verb Example Present Continuous Tense
I Am To write I am writing
He, She, It, Is To watch He is watching
They, We, You Are To walk We are walking
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