Present Continuous

Lesson 12. The present continuous tense is very often misunderstood. Do you know the two main uses for this tense? Are you confusing it with Present Simple? Watch this lesson to find out.

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Present Continuous - Exercise 1
  Video Exercise 1

Present Continuous - Exercise 2  PDF Exercise 2

Present Continuous - Revision PDF  PDF Handout

Lesson transcript

In this lesson we're looking at Present Continuous tense.

Now examples are: 'I'm staying',  'it's raining' and 'we're eating'

We make the present continuous tense with 'to be' plus the verb plus '…ing'

Now just like last lesson we'll start by looking at example situations, then we will look at the verb conjugations so question and negative sentences, and finally we'll do the practice exercises.

So let's start with example situations. And we use present continuous for something happening either precisely now or generally now.

Let's look first at precisely now. And we might imagine somebody on a phone, like this, saying, 'I'm walking back to the hotel'.

She might also say 'I'm waiting for the bus' or 'I'm cooking dinner at the moment.

In all of these examples, the action is happening precisely now.

Let's compare this to the second type of example situation where the action is happening generally now.

So the example here is: 'I'm reading a good book at the moment.' It's not happening right at this second. The action of reading is happening generally now.

One more example. 'She's saving for a new car right now'. And again, we're not talking about this precise moment. We're talking about what's happening in general.

Now I want to talk quickly about time expressions for present continuous. And there are two on this page. In the first sentence, it's 'at the moment', and in the second sentence, it's 'right now'.

Let's look at this in a bit more detail.

'At the moment', 'right now' we've seen for Present Continuous.  

We can also say 'currently' which is slightly more formal.

Now the thing to remember here is that even if we're saying at the moment, and right now or currently, they all apply to both uses of present continuous. That is precisely now, or generally now.

So, if we say for example 'I'm making breakfast' which is precisely now or 'I'm living in London, we can still use all of these time expressions.  

So that's the end of part one, let's now turn to verb conjugations. And we're going to use the verb 'to live' which is regular.

And just as we did with the present we'll put this into the positive form, the question form and the negative form.

So, positive form to begin with:

– I am living
– You / we / they are living and
– He / she / it is living

If we want to use the informal use we would say
<here>: 'I'm living'
<here> we would say: 'you're living'
or: 'we're living', or 'they're living'.

And <here> we would say: 'he's living' or 'she's living' or 'it's living'.

So that's the positive form, let's now look at the question form.

<Here> it would be:
– Am and I living?

<Here> it would be:
– Are you / we / they living

 And finally it would be:
– Is he / she / it …living

So that's the question form. Let's turn finally to the negative form.

<Here> we would have:
– I am not living

<Here we would have:
– You / we / they …are not living and:
– He / she / it …is not living.

And to turn once again to the informal forms, <here> we would have
– I'm not living

<Here> we would have:
– You're not living, or we're not living, they're not living.

We could also have:
– You aren't living, we aren't living, they aren't living

And finally for he it's:
– He's not living, she's not living, it's not living.

And again, the alternative is:
– He isn't living, she isn't living, it isn't living.

So those are the verb conjugations.

Here is the PDF of Present Continuous, and as you can see we have the time expressions, we have the verb conjugations and we have some example sentences.

Now, just like I said for Present Simple, it's a good idea to memorise the time expressions, and the reason I say this is that it's much easier, when you're in conversation, for example, to remember time expressions than it is to remember particular uses of Present Continuous or whichever tense.

I would also strongly recommend learning the verb conjugations for all tenses in fact – until you know them really quickly from memory.

So that's the end of Part 2. Join me in Part 3 for the practice exercises and in the lessons afterwards we'll start with the past – so Past Simple, Past Continuous and Present Perfect.

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Nouns: Countables, Uncountables (1)
Articles (2)
(3) | (Zero Article 4) | The: Special Uses (5)
There is, there are (6)
Quantity: Some, Any (7) | Many, Much, A lot of (8) | A few, a little (9)
Prepositions of time: In, On, At (10)
The Present: Present Simple (11) | Present Continuous (12)
The Past: Past Simple (13) | Past Continuous (14) | Present Perfect (15)
Irregular Verbs (16)
The Future: Future Simple (17) | Future Plans (18)
Phrasal Verbs (19) (20)


     Countable and uncountable nouns 

     Countable and Uncountable
     Learn the two key rules

     "The": Special Uses
      "The": Special Uses
      10 special uses of 'the' here

     Phrasal Verbs - Part 1 

     Phrasal Verbs Part 1
     Each example with a picture

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