The present progressive or present continuous is a form which combines present tense with progressive aspect. It thus refers to an action or event conceived of as having limited duration, taking place at the present time. It consists of a form of the simple present of be together with the present participle of the main verb.

In this page, I will explain step by step the following points:

  1. How to form the present progressive tense.
  2. When to use the present progressive tense.

How to form the present progressive tense:

The affirmative form:

We form the present progressive tense by combining  verb to be in the present simple tense am/is/are) plus the base form of the infinitive (without the ‘TO’ of infinitive) with the present participle (The present participle is simply the “-ing” form of a verb).

Subject
Verb to be in the present simple tense
Verb
Present Participle (+ing)
The Rest of the sentence
I
am
cook
Ing
sausage at home
You
are
cook
Ing
sausage at home
He / She / It
is
cook
Ing
sausage  at home
We/You/They
are
cook
Ing
sausage at home
1. For verbs that end in ‘E’ we delete the ‘E’ and then we add ‘ING’.
  • Close– Closing
  • Write– Writing
  • Drive– Driving
2. For verbs that end in a ‘IE’ we change the ‘IE’ into ‘Y’ then we add ‘ING’.
  • Die– Dying
  • Lie– Lying
  • Tie– Tying
3. For verbs that end in a ‘C’ we add ‘K’ then ‘ING’.
  • Panic– Panicking
  • Picnic– Picnicking
  • Mimic– Mimicking

4. For verbs with one syllable that end in a ‘CVC’ we double the last consonant then we add ‘ING’ .

  • Shop– Shopping
  • Run– Running
  • Plan– Planning
Negative form:
To make a negative sentence in English (Present Progressive Tense) we generally use am not / aren’t / isn’t.
Affirmative: I’m  playing chess and brain games.
Negative: I’m not playing chess and brain games.
As you can notice we simply add ‘not’ between verb ‘to be’ and the verb.
Subject
Verb to be in the present simple tense
Negation
Verb
Present Participle (+ing)
The Rest of the sentence
I
am
not
cook
Ing
sausage at home
You
are
not
cook
Ing
sausage at home
He / She / It
is
not
cook
Ing
sausage  at home
We/You/They
are
not
cook
Ing
sausage at home

 Interrogative form:

Yes/no questions are also formed using the auxiliary ‘to be’. But, pay attention this time, the auxiliary is placed before the subject:

WH- questions (questions starting with Wh-words such as “what”, “who”, “why”, “when” and “where”) are also created by putting  the auxiliary be before the subject:

Statement
Yes/no question
WH- question
I’m eating cherries
Am I eating cherries?
What am I eating?
You are playing guitar.
Are you playing guitar?
Where are you playing guitar?
He is preparing some French fries.
Is he preparing some French fries?
Why is he preparing some French fries?

When to use  the Present progressive tense:

1: Now

Use the Present Continuous with Normal Verbs to express the idea that something is happening now, at this very moment. It can also be used to show that something is not happening now.

  • You are not eating now.
  • Are you listening to me?
  • I am studying.
  • I am not sleeping.
  • Is he walking or running?
  • What are you doing?

2: Longer Actions in Progress Now

In English, “now” can mean: this second, today, this month, this year, this century, and so on. Sometimes, we use the Present Continuous to say that we are in the process of doing a longer action which is in progress; however, we might not be doing it at this exact second.

  • I am studying to become a web designer.
  • I am not studying to become a policeman.
  • I am reading the holy book.

3: Near Future

Sometimes, speakers use the Present Continuous to indicate that something will or will not happen in the near future.

  • I am meeting some classmates after school.
  • Is he visiting his parents next weekend?
  • aren’t you coming with us tonight?

4: Repetition and Irritation with “Always”

The Present Continuous with words such as “always” or “constantly” expresses the idea that something irritating or shocking often happens. Notice that the meaning is like Simple Present, but with negative emotion. Remember to put the words “always” or “constantly” between “be” and ” verb+ing ”

  • She is always coming to class late.
  • He is constantly complaining. I wish he would shut his mouth for a second.
  • I don’t like them because they are always nagging and gossiping.