How To Use The PRESENT CONTINUOUS Tense In English With ALL Its Meanings | DailyStep English

How To Use The PRESENT CONTINUOUS Tense In English With ALL Its Meanings

How many ways can I use the Present Continuous tense? 

The Present Continuous TenseHello I'm Jane at DailyStep English and in this lesson I'm going to give you ALL the ways to use the Present Continuous tense in English. It is also sometimes called the Present Progressive tense. 

Please make sure you take this lesson even if you are at advanced level. There is a FREE QUIZ at the bottom of this page to test your understanding.

I'll teach you how to use ALL English verb tenses and modals over the coming weeks and months so if you are new to DailyStep English, please sign up to my mailing list. 

So let's learn how to use the Present Continuous:

The Present Continuous Verb Tense (also called The Present Progressive Verb Tense)
By Jane Lawson at DailyStep.com

I use both the Present Continuous and the Present Progressive names for this tense in this lesson. This will help you to remember that they are both the same thing. Please speak along with me in this lesson so you can learn the topic and improve your English pronunciation.

If you want to learn how to form the Present Continuous, please click here.

When do we use the Present Continuous tense in English?

The Present Progressive is one of the first English verb tenses that beginners learn. But actually the Present Continuous has some advanced uses as well. Please check that you know all of these ways to use this important English verb tense. 

1.  We use the Present Continuous when we talk about activities that are happening at the same moment we are speaking. 


Examples: 


I am typing this lesson at the moment.
This lesson is being typed at the moment.

What is she doing? She is feeding the children.
What are the children doing? They are being fed so I guess they are all eating.
Are the children playing outside? No, they aren’t. They are eating

Please be quiet. The students are all taking exams today.
The students are taking exams today, aren’t they? Yes they are.
Are the students on holiday today? No, they are not. They are taking exams.

I’m leaving for the airport now so I will be there in two hours.
Where are you going with that suitcase?
I'm going to the airport.

If you are a DailyStep English Subscriber, please log in to continue listening and to download this lesson. 
You can subscribe to DailyStep here.

2. We use the Present Continuous to talk about temporary situations.

Examples:
I live in London but I'm staying in Scotland for two weeks. (note: we use the Present Simple for the long term situation "I live in London".)
Are you staying in London for two weeks? No, I'm not. I'm staying in Scotland.
Where in Scotland are you staying? I'm staying in Edinburgh.

What are you studying at University?
I am studying Law.
Are you enjoying it?
Yes, I am. I am enjoying it very much.

3. We use the Present Continuous to talk about something happening around a specific time.


Examples:
What are you usually doing at 3 a.m.? 
At 3 a.m. I am usually sleeping.

When I get home from work, they are often already having dinner.
The road outside is usually being cleaned on Tuesdays when I wake up. I
t is so noisy!

 

4. We use the Present Progressive when something is growing, changing or developing.

Examples:
Your English is getting a lot better.
That tree is growing so quickly.
The world is changing rapidly. 
 
The town is being transformed by the new town planning policy.  


5. We use the Present Continuous tense with ALWAYS for something that happens repeatedly 

Examples:
He's so funny. He is always making jokes and making people laugh.
Frank Saunders? Isn't he the man who is always sitting on the bench in the town square?
You are always complaining! (note: If you use the Present Continuous with Always, it sometimes means that this irritates or annoys us. So in this sentence, I find it annoying that he is always complaining.)
I am always losing my keys. 


The Present Continuous tense can also have a future meaning. Let's take a look at how to use it in this way: 


6. We use the Present Continuous when we talk about  future plans and arrangements.                               

Examples:
I'm starting a new job next week.
What are you doing next week?
What time are you meeting him tomorrow?

7. We use the Present Continuous  tense in time clauses with a future meaning.

 Examples:

While I am taking the exam, I will make sure I keep an eye on the time.
Do you think you could help me when I am unloading the van tomorrow?


8. We use the Present Progressive tense with a future meaning in First Conditional clauses

Examples:
If it's raining in the morning, I will take an umbrella.
I won't disturb you tomorrow if you are working when I arrive. (note: this conditional clause has both the Present Continuous and the Present Simple)
If you are living in Paris next year,  I will visit you.

To learn more about First Conditional Clauses, please click here


Now, this last meaning is usually taught only at advanced level English:

9. The Present Continuous tense can be used when we are telling a narrative story in the past or present. It makes the story more dramatic.  We also use it like this when we are talking about the plot of a film, a book or a play.

This is called the Narrative Present. The Present Simple can also be used in this way.

Examples:
In the book I'm reading, the hero is from Italy but he is living in Argentina and he's working in bar. One night, while he is serving a customer, he hears an argument at the next table. 

Yesterday I'm sitting in the garden minding my own business when suddenly a bird lands on the grass and starts walking towards me. While it's walking, it's making a strange tweeting noise as if it is trying to tell me something. Honestly, it was so strange! (notice how I only use the narrative present for the dramatic parts of the story)


So, now you know ALL the different ways to use the Present Continuous tense in English. How many ways are new for you? 

if you are a DailyStep English Subscriber, you can download this lesson at the bottom of this page.

Next, please test your understanding by taking this free DailyStep English quiz:

 If you like this lesson, please share it. Thank you :)

 

How to speak English fluently and understand fast English.

Improve Speaking and Listening with DailyStep EnglishDailyStep English Audio Lessons are designed to help you learn to speak and understand English at the speed that we speak it.

No matter how good your English is, you need to be able to follow a fast conversation in order to participate.

DailyStep English courses are fully accredited and you can get a certificate for your CV or resume. Listen to current lesson topics here:

Listen Now


If you are ready to start daily lessons, you can start your lessons here.

How to Start Daily Audio Lessons

If you are ready to start DailyStep Audio Lessons, please choose your level here. You can take as many levels as you like and also change level during your subscription. If you change your mind for any reason, just email me within 30 days for a full refund. 

Level 1 Prices >

1 month = 25 Lessons

 £6.00     Add to cart


3 months  = 70 Lessons

£15.00    Add to cart


 6 months 135 Lessons  

£30.00    Add to cart


12 months 260 Lessons  

£48.00    Add to cart


Regular Payment = 25 Lessons every month 
You can cancel any time

£5.00 per month  Add to cart

Level 2 Prices >

1 month = 25 Lessons

 £7.00     Add to cart


3 months  = 70 Lessons

£18.00    Add to cart


 6 months 135 Lessons  

£34.00    Add to cart


12 months 260 Lessons  

£62.00    Add to cart


Regular Payment = 25 Lessons every month 
You can cancel any time

£6.00 per month   Add to cart
 

Level 3 Prices >

1 month = 25 Lessons

 £8.00     Add to cart


3 months  = 70 Lessons

£21.00    Add to cart


 6 months 135 Lessons  

£42.00    Add to cart


12 months 260 Lessons  

£74.00    Add to cart


Regular Payment = 25 Lessons every month 
You can cancel any time

£7.00 per month  Add to cart

Level 4 Prices >

1 month = 25 Lessons

 £9.00     Add to cart


3 months  = 70 Lessons

£24.00    Add to cart


 6 months 135 Lessons  

£48.00    Add to cart


12 months 260 Lessons  

£86.00    Add to cart


Regular Payment = 25 Lessons every month 
You can cancel any time

£8.00 per month   Add to cart

Level 5  Prices >

1 month = 25 Lessons

£10.00   Add to cart


3 months  = 66 Lessons

£27.00    Add to cart


 6 months 135 Lessons  

£54.00    Add to cart


12 months 262 Lessons  

£98.00    Add to cart


Regular Payment = 25 Lessons every month 
You can cancel any time

£9.00 per month  Add to cart

 More English Courses


I also produce IELTS and other exam courses, and other courses where you can learn English through literature, drama, comedy, history, natural conversation and more! 

more | plus | más | altro | 続き | 자세히


 

How To Use The Present Continuous Tense With ALL Its Meanings

Download this lesson

If you are a subscriber to my DailyStep Audio Lessons, you can download this audio file below.