Contents:


Form

Affirmative sentences 

Full form:

subject + “am/are/is” + present participle form of verb

Contracted form:

subject + “-‘m/-‘re/-‘s” + present participle form of verb

  • “I’m eating lunch downstairs.”
  • “He’s being nice.”
Negative sentences 

Full form:

subject + “am/are/is not” + present participle form of verb

Contracted form:

subject + “aren’t/isn’t” + present participle form of verb

  • “Our company is not doing so well this year.”
  • “I’m not working at the moment.”

*Please note: There is no contraction with “am not” for the first person pronoun, “I.” “I am not” is contracted to “I’m not.”

Questions 

Full forms:

(a) “am/are/is” + subject + present participle form of verb

(b) question word + “am/are/is” + subject + present participle form of verb

  • Is your English getting better?”
  • Why are you being mean?”
Negative questions

It is possible to make negative questions even though their uses are quite specific. [See also: Negative questions]

The structure for full forms and contracted forms are slightly different. Contracted forms are preferred in general.

Contracted forms:

(a) “aren’t/isn’t” + subject + present participle form of verb

(b) question word + “aren’t/isn’t” + subject + present participle form of verb

Full forms:

(a) “am/are/is” + subject + “not” + present participle form of verb

(b) question word + “am/are/is” + subject + “not” + present participle form of verb

  • Isn’t your English getting better?”
  • Why are you not being nice?”

*Please note: There is no contraction with “am” and “not” for the first person pronoun, “I.”


Timeline

The present continuous tense is usually used to talk about events that are happening at the time of speaking.

In this way, it’s used to talk about an activity in progress at the time of speaking.

Interestingly, the present continuous tense can also be used in storytelling to describe past events, which is something also known as the “historical present.”


Uses of the Present continuous tense

1.   To talk about an action in progress at the time of speaking.
  • “I‘m cooking now so dinner won’t be long.”
  • “What are you doing?”
2.   To talk about a current temporary action.
  • “I’m reading a book by Bram Stoker.”
  • “He‘s staying at a hotel nearby.”
3.   To describe developing situations – both fast and gradual.
  • “It’s good to hear the economy is improving.”
  • “It‘s getting dark.”
4.   With “normally,” “typically” or “usually” – To refer to a regular action around a point of time.
  • “He’s usually writing at this time.”
  • Normally, we’re having dinner when he arrives home.”
5.   With “always,” “constantly” or “forever” – To express problematic regular actions.
  • “I‘m constantly worrying about the future.”
  • “She‘s always throwing things out.”
6.   For telling stories in the present tense.
  • “So I‘m standing there in my pyjamas and the monster starts reaching out to me.”

Original post: 23 September 2020

Advertisement