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Present continuous tense

  • What do you do in the morning?
    I read newspaper. (Present tense- a regular action)
  • Are you reading the newspaper now?
    No, I’m not reading now. (Present continuous tense- an action going on at present)
We talk about actions that are going on at the moment of speaking.
  • What am I doing now?
    I’m writing about present continuous tense.
Read the conversation
Abhi: Hi! What are you doing?
Siddu: I’m reading a novel.
Abhi: what is your brother doing?
Siddu: He is working on his project.
Abhi: Are your parents going to picnic tomorrow?
Siddu: They are not going to picnic tomorrow.

Siddu is talking about what is actually happening at that moment of answering. In the last reply he is talking about what is going to happen in future.

Let us look at the structural procedure
Continuity of the action is denoted by ‘-ing’ form of a verb. We talk about continuity of an action both in present and past.
  • I’ m writing about present continuous tense. ( now)
  • I was writing about present continuous tense. ( at a certain moment in the past but not now)
Continuous tense is also called as progressive tense.
Verb structure…
Is/am/are+ verb+ing
  • What are you doing? I’m writing.
  • How is he writing his exams? He is writing his exams well.
  • What are your plans for vacation? We are planning to go to some hill station.
Verb+ ing does not always function as a verb or shows only action.

Observe the following sentences
Example Function of Verb+ ing
He is reading. ‘Reading’ shows the action going
on at the moment of speaking. ( verb )
Reading is his hobby. Action is not going on at present.
‘Reading’ is only name of a hobby and is
in the place of subject. ( noun)
He loves reading. He is not reading at this moment.
‘Reading’ tells about name of something
that he loves and is in the place of object. (noun)
He needs reading glasses
to read clearly.
‘Reading’ does not show either
action or name of anything, but is
qualifying the noun/ describing the noun
‘glasses,’ ( adjective)

Hence v+ing may function like a verb, a noun or an adjective
  1. Present continuous is also called present progressive. Usually verb+ing that functions as a verb is used in the following situations and words like now, at this moment, today or words denoting near future go with it.
    • I’m working on Robot technology now.
  2. The present continuous is also used to describe an action which is happening around this moment.
    • I’m working on Robot technology these days. Or
    • I’m working on Robot technology.
    • We are studying Computer Architecture this semester.
    • I’m reading the Wings of Fire by ABJ Kalam.
    The action is not actually taking place at this moment of speaking but around this time.

  3. When the action is in progress at the moment of speaking.
      The prices of commodities are growing higher and higher.
  4. An action that is going to happen in the near future/ planned future events.
    • I am going to Mumbai tomorrow
    • You are going to write a test in the next week.
    • What are you going to do this evening.
    • She is not coming to the meeting.
  5. An action started somewhere in the past and being continued to the present moment.
    • Doctors are researching to find remedy for cancer.
    • The celebrations of Common Wealth games are going on.
  6. We use the present continuous to talk about changing situations.
    • The test is becoming harder and harder.
    • It is getting hotter and hotter this summer.
  7. Some verbs like see, hear, believe, belong, depend, hate, know, like, love, mean, need, prefer, realise, suppose, want, understand, fit, contain are not used in continuous tense.
    • I’m hearing the noise. ( wrong)
    • I hear the noise. (right)
    • He is seeing the picture. ( wrong)
    • He sees the picture. (right)
    • Sunitha is liking sweets. ( wrong)
    • Sunitha likes sweets. (right)
    • I’m looking the movie.
    • I’m watching the movie
Asking questions in continuous tense

am/is/are + subject+V+ing?
What/where/who/how/which/when + am/is/are + subject+V+ing?
  1. What are you doing?
  2. Is he working in the factory?
Fill in the blanks with suitable verb form- simple present/ present continuous

  • I’ hungry. I…………(want) something to eat.
  • Do you…………( understand) what I say?
  • Water ………….(boil) , you can add sugar now.
  • Water………..(boil) at 100o Celsius.
  • Does he………( work) hard?
  • Is he …………..(work) hard?
  • Let’s go out. It is……….( rain) now.
  • I usually ……..(go) to office by car.
  • I do not have my car today. I………..(go) to office by an auto.
  • I’ hungry. I want something to eat.
  • Do you understand what I say?
  • Water is boiling, you can add sugar now.
  • Water boils at 100o Celsius.
  • Does he work hard?
  • Is he working hard?
  • Let’s go out. It is not raining now.
  • I usually go to office by car.
  • I do not have my car today. I am going to office by an auto.
Published date : 13 Dec 2010 04:07PM

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