Present Continuous

Present Continuous is one of the grammatical tenses that can be quite difficult for Russian speaking students to understand. This tense, along with Present Simple, describes situations and actions in real time. Its very name implies that these actions occur in the present, and also focuses on the fact that they take some time.


Let's start with how we form the Present Continuous. To do this, use the verb to be and the semantic verb with the ending -ing. Schematically it looks like this:


To be + V (-ing)


For example:

She is reading the book.

They are watching TV.


To make the negative form Present Continuous, we put the particle not after the verb to be:

I am not listening to you now.


If we want to ask about something with the help of this tense, then the verb to be should be placed at the beginning of the sentence, before the subject:


Are you watching that film?

What are they waiting for?


Consider now the cases of its use in speech.

1. Present Continuous is used when it comes to actions happening right now, at the time of the conversation. In this case, helping words come to the rescue, such as now, at the moment, etc.


He is giving a speech at the moment.


2. Also Present Continuous is needed when we talk about temporary actions or situations that are happening now in the broad sense of the word (not right at the moment of speech). Words-markers are at present, these days, nowadays, today, etc.


She is looking for a job these days.


3. We can use Present Continuous with adverbs always, constantly, continually, etc., when we speak of actions that occur frequently and which we mention with irritation, discontent or anger.


She is constantly interrupting me when I am talking. (we are annoyed by this behavior)


4. Another use case of Present Continuous are trends, changing or evolving situations.


More and more species are becoming extinct these days.


5. And we also turn to Present Continuous when we talk about future plans, which we are 100% sure of.


I am moving into my new flat next week. (the action has already been planned and the speaker is sure of what will be done)

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