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Present Progressive/Continuous


The Present Progressive is used when we talk about something which is happening now. It is also called Present Continuous. Have a look at the following examples:

1) actions happening at the moment of speaking (now, at the moment)

Peter is reading a book now.
She’s listening to the radio.

2) fixed plan in the near future

She is going to Basel on Saturday.

3) temporary actions

His father is working in Rome this month.

We do use verbs which express states and are normally not used with the Present Progressive. Watch the difference in meaning.

They love being together. (They are not together now.)
They are loving being together.
(They are together now.)

4) actions happening around the moment of speaking (longer actions)

My friend is preparing for his exams.

5) trends

More and more people are using their computers to listen to music.

6) repeated actions which are irritating to the speaker (with always, constantly, forever)

Andrew is always coming in late. (I don't like it.)

Simple Present:
Andrew always comes late. (Here I don't give a comment.)

Signal words

Signal words tell you what tense you have to use. In the Present Progressive these words are used in situations which happen at the time of speaking.

at the moment


We use a form of to be (am, are or is), the infinitive of the verb and the ending –ing.

to be (am, are, is) + infinitive + -ing



Affirmative sentences:

I am playing volleyball.
He/she/it is playing volleyball.
We/you/they are playing volleyball.

NOTE: Use am with I - is with he, she, it - and with all other pronouns are.

We often use short forms in affirmative sentences in the Present Progressive.

Negative sentences:

I am not playing volleyball.
He/she/it is not playing volleyball.
We/you/they are not playing volleyball.

NOTE: We often use short forms in negative sentences in the Present Progressive.


In the Present Progressive we put the auxiliary (am, are or is) before the subject
(Auxiliary - Subject - Verb - Rest).

Am I playing volleyball?
Is he/she/it playing volleyball?
Are we/you/they playing volleyball?


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