- Parent Category: Beginner Skill Builders
- Category: Beginner Skill Builders: Grammar
- Written by Chris Cotter
What is the present progressive tense?
We use the present progressive tense to talk about something happening now or something that happens regularly around now. For example:
I am studying English now.
I am taking a course on American history these days.
She is trying to find a new job at the moment.
The present progressive tense is also called the present continuous tense.
What is the sentence structure?
The present progressive tense uses the following structure for positive statements:
subject | be verb | present participle (verb -ing) | object/complement
He | is | watching | a movie now.
Jon | is | giving | a presentation in the meeting now.
They | are | visiting | from Los Angeles for the holidays.
For negative statements, the structure is similar to positive sentences:
subject | be verb + not | present participle (verb -ing) | object/complement
He | is not | watching | a movie now.
We | are not | studying | in the library these days.
They | are not | going | to the gym recently.
For questions sentences, there are yes/no questions and wh-questions. The structures are:
be verb | subject | present participle (verb -ing) | object/complement
Are | you | watching | a movie now?
Is | Jon | giving | a presentation in the meeting now?
wh-question | be verb | subject | present participle (verb -ing) | object/complement
What | are | you | studying | these days?
Where | are | you | studying | these days?
When are you studying these days?
Why are you studying these days?
Who are you studying with these days?
How is the present progressive used?
The present progressive most often describes three situations:
1: An action happening right now.
2: An action that is happening regularly but isn't finished.
3: To talk about the future.
Here's an example of each:
The mechanic is fixing my car now.
In this sentence, the mechanic is in the process of repairing the car. He is actually at work on the car as this sentence is spoken.
My friend is planning to move. He is looking for a new apartment these days.
In these sentences, my friend hasn't moved yet. He is in the middle of an action which could take several more weeks before it finishes.
I am going to Spain at the end of the month. I booked a flight last month.
This is a planned action which will happen in the future.
Here are a few more examples of the three uses of the present progressive tense:
My teacher is explaining how to use the present progressive tense now.
She is studying in the library now.
I am studying at a language school these days.
Beth is working a lot of overtime until the end of the month.
What are you doing this weekend?
If you are visiting Japan in the spring, you must see the cherry blossoms.
Is there additional information on the present progressive tense?
Some verbs don't express an action, and these can't be used in the present progressive tense. Some examples include: believe, hate, know, like, love, prefer, realize, remember, seem, understand, and want.