The present continuous in English

ABA friends! How are you all?

As you know, every tense like in every language has its own purpose and needs to be used in a specific way. Today we are going to focus on the present continuous tense and how to form its structure as well as its uses in English

When and why do we use this tense?

This tense is used to explain continuous actions which are happening at the point when someone is speaking.


Subject + auxiliary verb (conjugated present tense of “to be”) + gerund

As you can see, the structure is relatively simple.


They are playing football

He is watching television

We are relaxing by the beach

It must also be noted that everything we say in affirmative can also be mentioned in negative form. To create the negative, all we do is add the word not after the auxiliary verb.


They are not playing football

He is not watching television

We are not relaxing by the beach

Can we use the present continuous in another context?

As mentioned above the main use of the present continuous is for a continuing action in the present, however it can also be used to express an action which is going to take place in the near future. Do note however, that the auxiliary verb “will” is still the clear auxiliary for the future tense.


They are going to Canada tomorrow

He is playing football on Saturday

We are relaxing by the beach this afternoon

What about questions?

In terms of creating questions in the present continuous, it’s very easy to master. Like other tenses, all we have to do is make an inversion of the subject and the auxiliary and voilà, we have the question form.


They are playing football = Are they playing football?

He is watching television = Is he watching television?

We are relaxing by the beach = Are we relaxing by the beach?

What is most important thing?

One of the main points to remember is that we cannot use this tense to describe our general daily lives- that must be done with the present simple. This is only for continuous actions in the present and also to describe near future actions. Remember that you can sign up for free to ABA English and check out unit 37 for more information on this.

Good luck!

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