Describe what is happening

Present continuous

We use the present continuous tense to talk about:

  • Actions happening now.
  • Actions happening in the future.

Look at the following chart to see some examples of the use of present continous tense for actions happening now.

For actions happening exactly nowI am reading the book.
For actions happening around now. The action may not be happening exactly now, but it is happening just before and just after now, and it is not permanent or habitual.Rafael is learning English.

We can also use the present continuous tense to talk about the future when we use a reference of time, such as tomorrow, next year, in june, etc. We only use the present continuous tense to talk about the future when we have planned to do something before we speak. We have already made a decision and a plan before speaking.

I am taking my exam next month.

Look at Grammar Box 1 and study the structure of the present continuous tense.

We create the present continuous tense by using verb To Be as an auxiliary verb and adding –ing to the base verb. With most of the verbs we just add –ing to the base form, but there are exceptions. Look at Grammar Box 2.

Asking others what are they doing or telling others what is happening at the moment of speaking helps us to communicate effectively. Look at Grammar Box 3 and study the proper structure of present continuous interrogative form.

You can use long or short answers, such as:

Are you listing to the teacher?

• Yes, I am listening to the teacher
Yes I am.
• No, I am not listening to the teacher
No, I am not.

When combining the present continuous with the question words (Wh words), we use the following structure.

Simple present

Tenses are a source of confusion for many people and it is quite a difficult subject to explain. Tenses define the way your sentence comes across and as such are very important for easy communication.

You will now study the uses of the simple present and present continuous. Look at Grammar Box 5.

Fuente: Secretaría de Educación Pública. (2015). Lengua adicional al español I. Ciudad de México.