Present Continuous

Present Continuous Grammar Guide

Form

Subject + to be (Present Simple) + Gerund + Object

For most verbs we add -ing to the infinitive to make the gerund

I'm waiting for a bus

am/is/are not ('m not/isn't/ aren't) + Gerund

am/is/are + subject + Gerund...?

We are not playing football this weekend

Is she doing her homework?

am/is/are ('m/'s/'re) + Gerund

+

-

?

As the present continuous uses to be as an auxiliary verb it is possible to use contractions in both positive and negative forms.

Contractions are common in spoken English but formal and written English it is recommended to use full structures.

Function

We use the Present Continuous to:

Whatever is happening at the moment of speaking can be talked about in the present continuous . This may have started before the moment of speaking and may well continue after the moment of speaking.

The present continuous is the tense of NOW

​​

Why are you talking to him now?

The ship is leaving the harbour

I am thinking about it, I cannot decide now

  • talk about what is happening now

Further topics

Further uses of the Present Continuous here

Future uses of the Present Continuous here

Differences between Present Simple and Present Continuous here

Exceptions

Apart from the spelling exceptions below verbs in the gerund form are regular

There are some differences in spelling between UK and American English

Spelling notes

INFINITIVES ending in -ie change the -ie to -y and add -ing

 

die - dying

When the INFINITIVE ends in -e, replace -e with -ing

amuse - amusing

come - coming

make - making

smile - smiling

One syllable INFINITIVES ending in consonant + vowel + consonant. Double the last consonant and add -ing

run - running

swim - swimming

Two syllable INFINITIVES ending in consonant + vowel + consonant. Double last consonant if last syllable is stressed. When last syllable is not stressed, just add -ing

 

commit - committing

whisper - whispering

INFINITIVES ending in a vowel + L, double the L

 

control - controlling

travel - travelling*

*American spelling - traveling

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