Continuous verbs in English – present

Continuous verb forms in English

How we use English verb forms (tenses) is essential to developing good communication in English.

I want to give the basic concepts of how these grammatical forms are used by native English speakers.

The basics:

All continuous verb forms (sometimes called progressive or durative)

                                                                                                        and their Passive forms:

  • Present Continuous                                         Present Continuous Passive
  • Past Continuous                                                 Past Continuous Passive
  • Present Perfect Continuous                       Present Perfect Continuous Passive
  • Past Perfect Continuous                               Past Perfect Continuous Passive
  • Future Continuous                                          Future Continuous Passive
  • Future Perfect Continuous                        Future Perfect Continuous Passive

 

are usually concerned with an action that is taking place at a certain moment in time. We put more emphasis on the action itself rather than if it is completed or not.

 The Present Continuous

for example tells us about something that is temporary at a certain moment that includes now.

(Note: it is also used to talk about an arrangement for the future)

  1. I am writing this article about Continuous verb forms at the moment
  2. It is raining a little but the sun is shining.
  3. The people outside are talking about yesterday’s football match

Compare:

  1. Leonard is an architect, he works in a big office in London
  2. This month he is working in Paris, he is supervising a new construction.

Both of the sentences above (1 and 2) are correct at the same time. In (1) we use the Present Simple to explain Leonard’s normal, habitual situation. In (2) we use the Present Continuous to explain a temporary situation. He is in Paris but his permanent office is in London

Exercises to practise Present continuous and Present simple

Go to English grammar lessons

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