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Present Continuous / Progressive Tense

Present Continuous / Progressive Tense

The present continuous (progressive) form in English grammar has the form is/are/am + -ing.


The birds are flying high.
The kids are playing in the park.

The present continuous (progressive) tense is used in the following cases:

1. An action is going on at the time of speaking.
She is singing now.
The boys are playing football.

2. For a temporary action that may not be actually happening at the time of speaking, by may be ongoing, off and on.
I am reading ‘The Da Vinci Code’ now. (I am not reading it at the moment.)

3. To refer to a particularly obstinate habit which is not changed despite many warnings.
My sister is stubborn: she is always eating junk food ignoring everyone’s advice.

4. To refer to future events.
I am going to the capital city tomorrow.


The following verbs are not used in the continuous form, because of their meaning.

  • Verbs of perception such as see, hear, smell, notice, recognize.
  • Verbs of appearing, such as appear, look, seem.
  • Verbs of emotion, such as want, wish, desire, feel, like, love, hate, hope, refuse, prefer.
  • Verbs of thinking, such as think, suppose, believe, agree, consider, trust, remember, forget, know, understand, imagine, mean, mind.
  • Have (=possess), own, possess, belong to, contain, consist of, be (except when used in the passive.)
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