English grammar

Verb tense - Present Continuous


Present Continuous


[am/is/are + present participle]


  • Affirmative: He is writing
  • Negative: He is not writing
  • Interrogative: Is he writing?
  • Negative interrogative: Is he not writing?
Affirmative Negative Interrogative
I am watching.
You are watching.
We are watching.
They are watching.
He is watching.
She is watching.
It is watching.
I am not watching.
You are not watching.
We are not watching.
They are not watching.
He is not watching.
She is not watching.
It is not watching.
Am I watching?
Are you watching?
Are we watching?
Are they watching?
Is he watching?
Is she watching?
Is it watching?


This form describes the simple engagement in a present activity, with the focus on action in progress "at this very moment". It can also be used to show that something is not happening now.


  • You are learning English now.
  • You are not swimming now.
  • Are you sleeping?
  • I am sitting.
  • I am not standing.
  • Is he sitting or standing?
  • They are reading their books.
  • They are not watching television.
  • What are you doing?
  • Why aren't you doing your homework?

Longer Actions in Progress Now

In English, "now" can mean: this second, today, this month, this year, this century, and so on. Sometimes, we use the Present Continuous to say that we are in the process of doing a longer action which is in progress; however, we might not be doing it at this exact second.


  • I am studying to become a doctor.
  • I am not studying to become a dentist.
  • I am reading the book Tom Sawyer.
  • I am not reading any books right now.
  • Are you working on any special projects at work?
  • Aren't you teaching at the university now?

Near Future

 It too can indicate a future, particularly when discussing plans already in place: I am flying to Paris tomorrow.


  • I am meeting some friends after work.
  • I am not going to the party tonight.
  • Is he visiting his parents next weekend?
  • Isn't he coming with us tonight?

Repetition and Irritation with "Always"

The Present Continuous with words such as "always" or "constantly" expresses the idea that something irritating or shocking often happens. Notice that the meaning is like Present Simple, but with negative emotion. Remember to put the words "always" or "constantly" between "be" and "verb+ing."


  • She is always coming to class late.
  • He is constantly talking. I wish he would shut up.
  • I don't like them because they are always complaining.

REMEMBER Non-Continuous Verbs/ Mixed Verbs

It is important to remember that Non-Continuous Verbs cannot be used in any continuous tenses. Also, certain non-continuous meanings for Mixed Verbs cannot be used in continuous tenses. Instead of using Present Continuous with these verbs, you must use Simple Present.


  • She is loving this chocolate ice cream. Not Correct
  • She loves this chocolate ice cream. Correct


The examples below show the placement for grammar adverbs such as: always, only, never, ever, still, just, etc.


  • You are still watching TV.
  • Are you still watching TV?



  • Right now, Tom is writing the letter. Active
  • Right now, the letter is being written by Tom. Passive