Present Continuous Tense – With Usage Examples and Pictures

“Present continuous tense” or “present progressive tense” is a verb tense that describes the actions we are doing right now. It is used to express the actions that we are doing at the moment of speaking. The auxiliary verbs are “am, is, are” and we add “-ing” at the and of the verbs in present continuous tense.

Formation of present continuous tense

For affirmative sentences we use the formation of “am, is, are + Ving”. For negative sentences we use “not” after the auxiliaries “am, is, are”. To make questions just put “am, is, are” before the subject. See the animated sentences below to learn the structure of present continuous tense.

  Is Why isWhere is


is cuttingis eatingeatingis not eatingeatingeating

the apple.

present continuous tense - grammar timeline

Which auxiliary (helping verb) to use for present continuous tense?

The auxiliary verbs in present continuous tense are “am, is, are“. We always add “-ing” at the end of the verbs in present continuous tense

  • They are swimming.
  • I am reading a book.
  • He is playing football.
  • Lucy is going home.
  • Ali is helping his father.

Positive (Affirmative) sentences

For the formation of positive sentences in present continuous tense we add use “am, is, are” and a verb with “-ing” suffix at the end.

  • I am not crying.
  • He is not drinking tea.
  • We aren’t waiting for the bus.
  • I’m not going anywhere.

Negative sentences

For the formation of negative sentences in present continuous tense we use “not” together with “am, is, are“. The short forms are “‘m not, isn’t, aren’t

  • He did not want tea.
  • We didn’t wait for the bus.
  • I didn’t use your pen.
  • Susan didn’t lie.

Interrogative sentences

For the formation of question sentences (interrogative) in present continuous we take “am, is, are” before the subject of the sentence.

  • Is Mr. Gibbs having breakfast?
  • Are you kidding?
  • What are you looking at?
  • Why are yo laughing?

Sentence forms in present continuous tense

Present continuous tense formula with example sentences
(+) Affirmative sentences (-) Negative sentences (?) Interrogative sentences
 I am playing.  I am not playing.  Am I playing?
 You are playing.  You aren’t playing.  Are you playing?
 He is playing.  He isn’t playing.  Is he playing?
 She is playing.  She isn’t playing  Is she playing?
 It is playing.  It isn’t playing  Is it playing?
 We are playing.  We aren’t playing  Are we playing?
 They are playing.  They aren’t playing  Are they playing?

❯❯ Learn verb to be here
❯❯ Learn simple present tense here
❯❯ Learn future simple tense (will) here
❯❯ Learn be going to future tense here
❯❯ Learn simple past tense here
❯❯ Learn past continuous tense here
❯❯ Learn present perfect tense here

Explanations and usages of present continuous tense

You can learn the explanations, usages and time adverbs of present continuous tense below.

1- Activities that are happening at the time of speaking

Present continuous tense is used to describe activities that we do at the very moment of speaking.

  • I am listening to music now.
  • He is working in the office.
  • Are you crying?
  • What are you doing now?
    – I’m drinking tea.

2- Longer and temporary actions

Temporary but continuous actions can also be expressed using present continuous tense.

  • I writing a book on pets.
  • I am studying maths at the university.
  • We are staying in this hotel.
  • She is selling flowers.

3- Arrangements for near future

We can also use present continuous tense to talk about arrangements in near future

  • We are going to the cinema tomorrow evening.
  • He is meeting some friends this evening.
  • Are you coming with us next week?
  • We are celebrating the Eid two days later.

4- Annoying situation

The word “always” can be used with the present continuous tense to give the idea of an annoying or bothering situation.

  • He is always getting up late nowadays.
  • You are always exaggerating the news.
  • Sam is always talking loud.

5- Non-progressive verbs

Some verbs have no progressive forms, so these verbs are used in simple present tense.
Some of these verbs are:believe, know, remember, understand, need, hate, like, love, prefer, want, feel, mean etc.

  • WRONG: I am knowing the answer.
    CORRECT: I know the answer.
  • WRONG: I am loving you.
    CORRECT:I love you.
  • WRONG: I am understanding it.
    CORRECT:I understand it.
  • WRONG: He is liking ice-cream.
    CORRECT:He likes ice-cream.


  • I know the answer.
  • I like football.
  • Do you remember my name?
  • I don’t want tea.
  • What do you mean?

Time expressions in present continuous tense

Time expressions are now, just now, at the moment, at present

Images and example sentences

In this section you can learn present continuous tense with images and example sentences.

A dialogue example

Below is a dialogue to learn present continuous tense. After reading the sentences, you can make similar dialogues.

  1. dialogue avatar

    Hi Susan!

    I am coming home.

  2. dialogue avatar


    The dinner table is ready.

    Are you coming with your office friends?

  3. dialogue avatar

    No, they are not coming.

    Mike is going to london

    and Sam is working at the office now.

    They are busy.

  4. dialogue avatar

    Why is Sam working at this time of the day?

    It is very late.

  5. dialogue avatar

    He has a lot to do.

    OK. See you.


Translate the sentences below into your native language.

You will see random examples of present progressive tense below. You can translate them into your native language.

Sentence scramble game

You can see scrambled words of present continuous tense sentences. Click on the words in order to make meaningful sentences.


Example sentences

You can see many sentences below to learn present continuous tense in context.

10 examples of about present continuous tense

  1. Alex is running outside.
  2. He is playing with his toys now.
  3. Rose is going to school at the moment.
  4. Jack is driving fast.
  5. What are you drawing?
  6. I am thinking about my future.
  7. The doctor is examining the baby.
  8. I am not lying.
  9. She is wearing jeans at the moment.
  10. we are getting married next month.
  11. The phone is ringing.

Questions and answers

You can read the questions and the answers below to learn how to use about present continuous tense.

10 questions and answers about present continuous tense

  1. Why are they discussing?
    Because they are late.
  2. What are you drinking?
    I’m drinking lemonade.
  3. Where are you going?
    We are going to Italy.
  4. Are you sleeping?
    No, I am just resting my eyes.
  5. Is it snowing outside?
    Yes, it is.
  6. Are you crying?
    Yes. I am thinking about my family.
  7. Are the children playing in the garden?
    No. They are playing at home.
  8. Why is Nancy sitting alone?
    Because she wants to be alone.
  9. Are you coming with us tomorrow?
    Yes, I am.
  10. Is she studying English now?
    Yes, she is.

External resources:
You can visit British Council page to learn present continuous tense, or watch a video from the popular movies to see example sentences. Here is a PDF document to learn present continuous tense.

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