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Present Continuous

You will learn to:

  • Use verbs to describe an ongoing event.

    • I am eating...​

    • She is wearing...

    • They are watching...​​​

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Present Continuous Examples

This is used to describe an action which is ongoing. It started in the past but has not finished. 

Subject + verb 'be' + continuous form 

First, let's learn these verbs.

Let's divide the Present Continuous into 'Short term' and 'Long term'.

Short term - within one day
He is wearing glasses

Subject + verb 'be' + continuous verb + nounnoun phrase

 

He + iswearing + glasses.

He is wearing glasses.

Get-up

Now

12:00pm

Go to bed

9:00am

He put the glasses on in the past.

Now, he is still wearing the glasses so the action is not finished. It will finish in the future.

The action (wearing glasses):

  • started in the past

  • is still going on

She is reading

Subject + verb 'be' + continuous verb

 

She + isreading

She is reading.

Wake-up

Now

7:30pm

Go to bed

7:00pm

She started reading the book

Now, she is still reading and has not yet finished. It will finish in the future.

The action (reading a book):

  • started in the past

  • is still going on

Present Continuous Exercises

They are wearing

Subject + verb 'be' + continuous verb + noun /  noun phrase

 

They + arewearing + baseball caps

They are wearing baseball caps.

He is reading
Answer

He is reading a kindle.

They are doing homework
Answer

They are doing homework.

Extend your sentences
He is wearing

Subject + verb 'be' + continuous verb noun phrase, noun phrase and noun phrase

He is wearing a blue suit, a white shirt and a blue tie.

He is wearing a blue suit, a white shirt and a blue tie.

He is wearing

Subject + verb 'be' + continuous verb noun phrase and noun phrase

Answer

He is wearing blue jeans and brown shoes.

She is wearing

Subject + verb 'be' + continuous verb noun phrase and noun phrase

Answer

She is wearing a black top and a red skirt.

He is reading
Answer

He is wearing a white shirt and yellow trousers.

Long term - over more than a day
She is reading a book

Subject + verb 'be' + continuous verb + nounnoun phrase

 

Jane + is + reading + a book.

Jane is reading a book.

1st March

Now - 6th March

Future

3rd March - Jane started reading a book

Now, she is still reading the book - it is unfinished. 

Note that Jane does not need to be reading all the time. She can stop and start but the action only finishes when the book is finished.

He is doing a jigsaw

Subject + verb 'be' + continuous verb + nounnoun phrase

 

Timmy + is + doing + a jigsaw.

Timmy is doing a jigsaw.

Monday

Now - Wednesday

Future

Tuesday - Timmy started doing a jigsaw.

Now, he is still doing the jigsaw - it is unfinished. 

Present Continuous Examples - Negative

Subject + verb 'be' + not + continuous verb

We make the verb 'be' negative, not the continuous verb. It is used to say the subject is not doing an action. 

I am not wearing a black tie.

We are not doing our homework.

He isn't reading that file

Present Continuous Exercises - Negative

Woman In Hat
Subject + verb 'be' + not + continuous verb 

She isn't wearing a red hat. She is wearing a black hat

Image by Blair Fraser
She verb 'be' not reading a thin book. ___ ___ _____ a thick magazine.
Answer

She is not reading a thin book. She is reading a thick magazine.

Dress Model
She ____ not _____ a ____ dress. ___ ___ _____ a ____ _____.
Answer

She is not wearing a black dress. She is wearing a red dress.

Present Continuous Examples - Questions (?)

Closed questions

Closed questions ask a specific question and want a 'yes' or 'no' answer.

Two people are meeting. They have not seen each other. They are asking questions to help find each other.

I'm wearing

Julie

Julie: Are you wearing a t-shirt?

Gary: No, I'm wearing a grey suit. Are you wearing a jumper?

Julie: Yes, I'm wearing a white jumper, glasses and a brown hat. 

Gary: I'm not wearing a hat. 

I'm wearing

Gary

Open questions

Open questions are general and the person answering is asked to give information. 

Let's look at Gary and Julie meeting again, but with open questions. 

Julie: What are you wearing?

Gary: I'm wearing a grey suit. What are you wearing?

Julie: I'm wearing a white jumper, glasses and a brown hat. 

That was much easier for Julie and Gary. 

What are you reading?

What are you reading?

I'm reading manga.

I'm reading

This open question is asking someone for the kind of or name of the book they are reading. 

What are you doing?

The most popular open question is 'What are you doing?' because it allows for any verb to be in the answer. 

I'm doing nothing.

I'm reading a book.

I'm going to bed.

What are you doing?

I'm going to the bank.

I'm drinking a glass of wine.

I'm eating dinner.

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