Present Continuous Tense – Mini Tutorial (especially for my lovely student Corina)

* Many languages have only one Present Tense when in English we use two: Present Simple Tense and Present Continuous Tense.

We use Present Continuous to describe actions or situations that are happening or continuing now. For example, you are reading this blog. If someone asks you what you are doing now, you could answer, “I’m reading Mary’s English Blog”. Perhaps someone is cooking dinner for you while you are studying English? Present Continuous also describes temporary situations. Are you working part-time while you are studying?

♦ Watch this Mr Bean cartoon for typical use of Present Continuous:

Present Continuous for future plans and arrangements:

We also use Present Continuous for future plans and arrangements. For example, “What are you going to do after you finish reading this blog?” I could also ask, “What are you doing after you finish reading this blog?”

BE verb (am, is, are) + GOING TO + BASE VERB (eg, have, travel, be) is always future:
I am going to travel around Australia. = Future
We are going to have a party. = Future

Present Continuous needs a future reference or it’s just now:
I’m going home. = Now
I’m going home at 3.30pm. = Future
We’re having a party. = Now
We’re having a party on Saturday. = Future

Test yourself with this online quiz.

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