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Present continuous

Present continuous construction: be (am/is/are) + verb + –ing (gerund) 

Example verb: to build

I am building   We are building
You are building   You (guys) are building
He/she/it is building   They are building

We use the present continuous to talk about actions that are happening at the moment of speaking

  • Are you walking?
  • The baby is crying. 
  • They aren’t doing their homework.
  • You look beautiful when you are smiling.
  • He is usually working around 14h.

We use the present continuous to talk about the near future

  • Are you coming to the beach tomorrow with us?
  • am meeting her later on tonight.
  • James is going to come to the party tonight.

We use the present continuous to talk about situations that are developing and changing

  • Our boy is getting taller and stronger as each day passes.
  • The sky is becoming more grey.
  • Due to climate change, the temperatures are rising. 
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We can use the present continuous and the present simple to talk about permanent or temporary situations

  • am still living at home.
  • She is studying maths.
  • He is writing letters to his uncle.

The present continuous and present simple are used to talk about physical feelings

  • am feeling rather sick. / I feel rather sick.
  • His head is aching. /  His head aches. 
  • My bruise is hurting. / My bruise hurts. 

Present continuous with context and analysis

Example verb: to live

I am living   We are living
You are living   You (guys) are living
He/she/it is living   They are living


  • Hi Sally! How’s it going?
  • Hey! It’s going great, thanks. What about you?
  • Well, not the best. I’m a little bit down.1
  • Oh,2 I’m sorry to hear that. Why is that?
  • I’m thirty-eight3 and I’m still living with my parents.4 I wish I could get some more savings and move out of my parent’s house.5
  • Where do you want to go?
  • I’m thinking of going flatting,6 you know, live in a shared apartment.
  • Really? You’re thinking about living in a shared apartment?7
  • Yeah, why not!
  • How long will it take before you have enough savings?
  • Well, ah, I’m working six days per week in the centre,7 and I just need another two thousand pounds to cover8 the bond for a room in central London.
  • Goodness, London is expensive, isn’t it?9
  • Yes, I agree. I wish the prices were a little cheaper. London is becoming more and more expensive every year.10
  • Absolutely.


  1. I’m a little bit down. ‘To be down’, means to be a little bit ‘depressed’.
  2. Oh.  This is an interjection with not much grammatical sense, only that it functions as a sort of ‘utter’ of surprise.
  3. I’m thirty-eight. Remember, numbers from twenty-one to ninety-nine need a dash (-). I.e., She’s thirty-three/eighty-five/twenty-six etc.
  4. I’m still living with my parents. The present continuous, ‘I’m still living’ is used to describe a permanent situation.
  5. Parent’s house. ‘Parent’s’ is possessing ‘house’; therefore, you need to add the possessive (‘s). Other examples of the possessive in English: my daughter’s toy. The building’s doorman. Mum’s car. The nouns toy, doorman, and car are being possessed by daughter, building, and doorman.
  6. I’m thinking of going flatting. The present continuous (I’m thinking) is used here to describe an action happening in the moment of speaking.
  7. You’re thinking about living in a shared apartment? The recipient asks this question in the present continuous (you’re thinking) because they assume the act of ‘thinking about an apartment’ is a permanent situation.
  8. I just need another two-thousand pounds to cover the bond. The verb ‘cover’ is used in reference to money in terms of ‘managing’ the cost. I.e. we have enough money to cover the price for our mortgage. I’m not sure I can cover the cost of our living expenses.
  9. London is expensive, isn’t it? A question tag ‘isn’t it?’ is used because the speaker assumed the answer and just needs extra clarification.
  10. London is becoming more and more expensive every year. The present continuous ‘is becoming’ is used here to describe a situation that is developing or changing over time.

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