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How does it work? The present continuous

Updated: 7 days ago

The present continuous is used to talk about what is happening now, in this moment.

The construction of the present continuous is as follows:

I am + verb - ing I am working.

You are + verb - ing You are working.

He is + verb - ing He is working.

She is + verb - ing She is working.

It is + verb - ing It is working.

We are + verb - ing We are working.

They are + verb - ing They are working.

As well as talking about what is happening in the moment the present continuous can also be used to talk about what is not happening. This is done by inserting 'not' before the verb.

The sun is shining.

It is not raining.

When using informal speech, such as with friends or family, these expressions can be shortened as follows:

I am I'm I am not I'm not

You are You're You are not You're not

He is He's He is not He's not or he isn't

She is She's She is not She's not or she isn't

It is It's It is not It's not or it isn't

We are We're We are not We're not

They are They're They are not They're not

The present continuous can also be used to ask questions about what is happening at a given moment:

Are you listening to me?

Test your knowledge of the present continuous by reading the following situations and creating a sentence or question using the present continuous form of the verb given in brackets:

It is daytime and there are no clouds in the sky. (shine)


I am on holiday. (not / work)


I am in the sea. (swim)


Anna is asleep. (sleep)


Sam is walking. He is not on his bike. (not / cycle)


You want to find out if I am having dinner. (eat)


You want to find out if Brian is doing his homework. (do)


I am sitting with a book in my hands. You want to find out if I am reading. (read)


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