- Construction: present “to be” (am/is/are) + verb-ing
1. Actions in progress right now:
Hi, mum! I’m calling to let you know that I’m with Benjamin.
Is she really studying at the library? I’ve been there and I haven’t seen her.
2. Actions in progress which aren’t necessarily happening at the moment of speaking:
I’m studying quite a lot for my final exams.
She’s learning how to drive.
3. Actions that are developing over a period of time:
The number of unemployed people in Spain is growing every year.
4. To complain about something that happens often and annoys the speaker, using “always”:
Stop it! You’re always nagging me about making my bed. Let it be!
5. To talk about future arrangements: (for more info on this use, visit Future Tenses)
We’re getting married in March.
Are you going anywhere this summer?
- IMPORTANT: State vs Action Verbs: the Present Continous is normally used with action verbs, and not with state verbs. Action/Dynamic verbs describe activities, actions we “perform”, while state/stative verbs describe states of being, not actions we carry out.
We’re driving to the coast. (action verb – present continuous is possible)
She believes in God. (state verb – present continuous is not possible)
She’s believing in God.
NOTE: there are many verbs that have a stative meaning and an dynamic meaning. For example, the verb “have”:
I have three brothers. (stative)
I’m having my breakfast right now, I’ll see you in class.