English Grammar: Present Continuous

English Grammar: Present Continuous

English Grammar: Present Continuous. Both Spanish and English have a Present Continuous verb tense (I’m working / Estoy trabajando) and although their form is similar (verb to be + gerund), they are used differently. In English, we use the Present Continuous for: (1) things happening in the moment, (2) ongoing actions that are happening around the current time (3) annoying habits and (4) future plans.

FORM

The form of Present Continuous is the same in Spanish and English

  • Positive statements
    • Subject + verb to be + gerund
  • Negative statements
    • Subject + verb to be + not + gerund
  • Questions
    • Verb to be + subject + gerund

USES

THINGS THAT ARE HAPPENING IN THE MOMENT

  • Use present continuous to talk about something you are doing at the moment that you are saying it.
    • I’m writing this blog post right now.
    • I’m looking out the window.
  • NOTE: in Spanish you say ‘te escribo‘ in an email, but in English we say ‘I’m writing…‘ because for us it is something we are doing in that very moment. Learn more here.

ONGOING EVENTS / TEMPORARY SITUATIONS/HABITS

  • Present Continuous is also used for ongoing events or temporary situations. I may not be doing them at this very moment, but at this time in my life.
    • I’m learning to paint. (not right now, but I go to a class twice a week)
    • She’s not going to class this month. (She’ll go again next month)

ANNOYING HABITS

  • Use Present Continuous to show you are annoyed with someone’s habit.
    • You are always watching the TV!
    • He’s always complaining.

DEFINITE FUTURE PLANS

  • For definite future plans, we also use present continuous
    • After work I’m going to the gym.
    • Next month we are going to Malaga

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN SPANISH AND ENGLISH

  • There are times when in English we use present continuous but in Spanish you use Present Simple.
  • In addition to the examples in the photo on the right, we have the following:
    • What time are you going? ¿A que hora vas?
    • Who are you going with? ¿Con quien vas?
    • I’m attaching the document you requested. Adjunto el documento que me hayas pedido.

English Grammar

Now that you have seen English Grammar: Present Continuous, take a look at our other English Grammar posts:
English Grammar: Second Conditional
English Grammar: Regret + gerund/infinitive