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How to Use the Present Continuous Verb Tense for English

Updated: Jan 10

Present Continuous Tense (The English Language)


The present continuous tense is used to talk about a continued or an ongoing action of the present. It is formed from the present tense of the verb be and the present participle (-ing form) of a verb


  • I am drinking milk

  • She is playing a video game

All grammar rules for forming the Present Continuous Tense

a) To make continuous verbs, we add -ing to the base verb

e.g.: do –doing, ask-asking

b) When the verb ends with a silent e, we drop the e and add -ing

e.g.: Make- making, take- taking

c) For short, one-syllable verbs that end in consonant + vowel + consonant (CVC), we double the last consonant and then add -ing

e.g.: Swim- swimming, run-running

d) For words that end w, x and y, do not double the last consonant; just add -ing

e.g.: Enjoy- enjoying

e) When words have two or more syllables ending in CVC, we double the last consonant if the last syllable is stressed. When the last syllable is not stressed, we just add -ing.

e.g.: commit- committing (The last syllable is stressed)

f) For verbs that end in -ie, change the ie to y before adding -ing:

e.g.: Die-dying

Sentence patterns for the Present Continuous tense

The present continuous of any verb has 2 parts- the present tense of the verb to be and the present participle of the main verb.

  • Affirmative sentence

Subject +to be +base + ing

e.g.: He is walking

  • Negative Sentence

Subject +to be + not +base + ing

e.g.: He is not walking

  • Interrogative Sentence

To be + Subject +base + ing

e.g.: Is he walking?

All situations the Present Continuous Tense is used in

a) It is used for something that is happening at the moment of speaking


I’m just leaving home. I’ll be in school in an hour.

b) It is used for something which is happening before and after a given time


When I get home the children are doing their homework.

c) It is used for something which is new and contrasts with a previous state


These days, youngsters are using email instead of writing letters.

d) It is used for something which we think is temporary


Joe is at the university. He’s studying German.

e) It is used for something which happens again and again


It’s always snowing in Switzerland.

f) It is used to show that something is changing, growing or developing


The kids are growing quickly or Your Language is improving

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