Present continuous

The present continuous is one of the easier tenses we use as it describes actions that are currently occurring in the moment.It's also relatively easy to teach to students because you can physically show the movement to describe it at the same time.

Its form is:

S (I/We/They etc.) + present tense of to be + verb in continuous form

The following are the different ways we use the present continuous:

1). We use it to talk about an action that will happen, or is happening, over a period of time. Take the following for example:


The main point here is that they are currently running and it appears they will continue to. This doesn’t tell us, however, anything about when the person started running, which may have been in the past or now. This example is slightly different:

In the above example then, the action (playing football) is going to start and end next week.

So although the present continuous can talk about what is occurring in the present, it can also talk about an action that will start and end in the future.

On the contrary, if you want to see how to talk about continuous actions that started in the past, check out the past continuous.

2). We also use it to report on a period of time, for example in sporting events:

Spurs are keeping the ball really well

Tiger is hitting the ball crisply today

3). And to talk about being in the middle of something at a similar  time:

I’m usually playing rugby at 6

I'm often studying in the evenings

4). To talk about something that happens temporarily:

I’m currently studying Chinese

I’m eating healthy food at the moment

5). There's a big difference between using always in present continuous and present simple.

When always is used in the present continuous it means ‘very often’:

My friends are always eating hamburgers

They’re always being disruptive in class

But in the present simple, always means something like ‘all the time’:

My friend always eats hamburgers (every day)

They are always disruptive in class (every lesson)