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What’s the Present Continuous in Grammar?

The present continuous (or progressive).

The present continuous (or progressive)

How would you talk about something that’s happening in the moment, like right . . . now . . . or . . . now?

If I’m not already being too on the nose: I’m sitting and writing (read: typing) an article about the present continuous tense, while communicating using the present continuous tense. If this isn’t present continuous tense inception, then I’m not sure what is!

When to use the present continuous

The present continuous (also called present progressive) is a form of the present tense that’s one of the most regularly used amongst all of the 12 tenses (in our view). Its purpose is to describe something that’s ongoing or in progress at the time of speaking, but we use the present continuous in a number of other ways as well. Take a look:

To describe something that’s occurring at that moment:

  • I’m cooking dinner right now, so please excuse the noise.
  • Why are you behaving this way?

Future plans, intentions or arrangements:

  • I am flying to Germany in three weeks.
  • When are you graduating from university?
  • We are moving to another state next month.

How to form the present continuous

We form the present continuous combining a form of [to be] + present participle (verb form ending in –ing).

Read more about verbs


  1. P.C. Wren, High School English Grammar and Composition.
  2. Harper, Douglas. “Etymology of continuous.” Online Etymology Dictionary, Accessed 16 February, 2024.

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