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|