Easy Learning English

The present continuous tense - Easy Learning Grammar

Typical forms of this tense are as in:
  • I am winning.
  • He is winning.
  • Am I winning?
  • Is she winning?
  • I am not winning.
  • He is not winning.
  • Aren’t I winning?
  • Isn’t she winning?
  • Am I not winning?
  • Is she not winning?
Some main verbs are not normally used in the continuous in standard British English, though they may be used this way in other varieties of English. These are generally verbs about states rather than actions.
I am winning.but not I am liking it.
I am not winning.but not I am not liking it.
We use the present continuous tense to talk about:
  • things that are happening now, at the time when we are talking.
  • Mum’s mowing the lawn, and I’m doing my homework, but Isabel isn’t doing anything.
  • The children aren’t asleep; they’re messing about.
  • Come on; you’re not trying.
When you give a short answer to a question, it is normal to echo the auxiliary but not the main verb.
  • Are you waiting for someone? – Yes, I am.
  • Is Hamish working in the library? – No, he isn’t.
  • a temporary activity, even if it is not happening at the time when we are talking.
  • I’m studying German at college.
  • I’m thinking of getting a new car.
  • a temporary situation in contrast to a permanent situation.
  • I’m living in Scotland at the moment.
  • Fiona is working in the stables over the holidays.
  • a changing state or situation.
  • My headache is getting better.
  • The daylight is slowly fading.
  • the circumstances under which something is generally done.
  • I have to wear glasses when I’m driving.
  • arrangements for future events along with a time adverb or phrase. See Future reference for more on the future.
  • I am flying to New York next week.
We also use it to express annoyance at a repeated action. In this case, one of the following adverbs is used with the verb: always, forever, constantly, continually.
  • She’s always whining about something.
  • He’s forever laughing and making silly comments.

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