Making the Present Continuous (also known as the Present Progressive)


We can make the Present Continuous tense (also known as the present progressive) in the following way:

Present Continuous Tense Form

Present Simple of ‘Be’ + Verb-ing


I + am + read-ing

I am reading

We are working.


Basic Positive Forms                       Basic Positive Short form

I am working                                                I’m working

You are working                                           You’re working

He is working                                                He’s working

She is working                                              She’s working

It is working                                                  It’s working

You are working (Plural)                            You’re working (Plural)

We are working                                           We’re working

They are working                                         They’re working


Question form of the Present Continuous or Present Progressive

  • Am I working?
  • Are you watching a movie?
  • Is he reading?
  • Is she playing outside?
  • Is it snowing?
  • Are we having a party?
  • Are they going?


Making ‘Wh’ questions with the Present Continuous

  • Why am I working?
  • What are you watching?
  • Why is he reading?
  • Where is she playing?
  • Where is it snowing?
  • When are we having a party?
  • How are they going?

Using the Present Continuous – Tips

Something happening right now

The present continuous is used to show that something is happening (or in the negative not happening) right NOW. By now, we can mean exactly this second, day, week, month, year etc.


  • I am working as an engineer.
  • I am not studying this month as I am on holiday.
  • Are you reading a good book?
  • Is he working in a bank?
  • Aren’t you studying to be a doctor?


Present Continuous with ‘Time Word’: Near Future

Sometimes we use the Present Continuous with a ‘Time Word’ like tonight, this evening, this weekend, after dinner, and so on.

This means that something is going to happen (or not happen in the negative) very soon, or, in the near future:


  • I am going to a party after dinner.
  • We are not (short form: aren’t) going to London this weekend.
  • Are you meeting Jane after work?
  • Isn’t she visiting us tonight?

Other situations that are temporary

  • Sue is studying to be a doctor at the moment. (She may not actually be studying right now, but it is what she is doing nowadays).


  • I’m listening to some music.
  • I’m speaking to my mother.