English Grammar – Present Continuous – positive, Negative, Question

The present continuous is a verb tense which is used to show that an ongoing action is happening now, either at the moment of speech or now in a larger sense. This tense can also be used to show that an action is going to take place in the near future. Read on for detailed descriptions, examples, and exercises.

Present Continuous – Positive Form

When to use present continuous?

  • Now | My mother is sleeping now.
  • Around now | He is writing a book.
  • Temporary | we are staying at a hotel.
  • Trend | The prices of homes are increasing.
  • Repeated action | My children are always making noise.
  • Future | we’re moving to the new office next week.

Positive Form

Subject + am/is/are + [Verb+ing] + complement.

For example

Work = working, drive = driving, have = having,
wait = waiting, eat = eating, play = playing.

  • I am going to the store now.
  • The girls are sleeping now.
  • We are eating now.
  • She is working.

Present Continuous Positive Form USE

We use present continuous to talk about:

  • Thing happening now. (John is doing his homework).
  • Temporary activities. (we’re learning about trees this week)
  • Situations of change. (the hole in the ozone layer is getting bigger).
  • Future arrangements. (we’re flying to India on a school trip next month).

When Not to Use Present Continuous Tense

We cannot use it to talk about any permanent actions, or activities.

There are certain verbs that cannot be used in the present continuous tense. The following verbs are non-continuous:

  • Communication: agree, promise, surprise
  • Feelings: like, love, hate.  (don’t say: liking or loving or hating)
  • Senses: hear, see, smell, taste
  • Thinking: believe, know, understand

For example:

Don’t say: I’m Liking, I’m hating, I’m understanding, I’m knowing. ….. etc.

All these examples are wrong, so please don’t use them.

If you live in India all time, then it would be wrong to say:
I’m living in India.

you should say:
I live in India.

If you work at ABC company, and that is your permanent job, it would be wrong to say:
“I am working at ABC company”
you should say:
I work at ABC company.

Stative Verbs:

Wrong sentenceCorrect Sentence
I am understanding EnglishI understand English
We are liking this showWe like this show.
They are having a carThey have a car

Contractions with Present Continuous

  • I am
  • You are
  • We are
  • They are
  • He is
  • She is
  • It is
  • I’m.
  • you’re.
  • we’re.
  • they’re.
  • he’s.
  • she’s.
  • it’s.

Spelling of Present Continuous Verbs:

With all of the verbs, you need to add “ing”. And to most of the verbs, that’s all you need to do.

Just need to add “ing”.   For example:

Eat = eating | walk = walking | do = doing | learn = learning | watch = watching | talk = talking.


with some verbs you need to make a few small other changes for verbs ending in: “ie, ye, i, ee”, So please watch this video , to learn how to add ing to those verbs.

Add ing to verbs that end in ie, ye, i, ee

Positive Form Examples

  • I’m working.
  • She’s eating.
  • It’s raining now.
  • They’re running.
  • The bus is coming.
  • She’s wearing a hat.
  • We’re having dinner.
  • They’re playing football.
  • He’s working on project.
  • I’m going now. Goodbye.
  • Sami is reading a newspaper.
  • Please be quiet. I’m working now.
  • The children are playing in the park.
  • My parents are talking to my teacher.
  • Where’s Sue? She’s having a shower.
  • The children are doing their homework.
  • John and Sven are buying new trainers.
  • You’re standing on my foot. Oh, I’m sorry.
  • Look! Somebody is swimming in the river.
  • We’re having dinner now. Can I call you later?
  • We are listening to present continuous lesson.
  • You are watching to present continuous lesson.
  • Look, there’s Sarah. She’s wearing a brown coat.
  • Where’s John?’ ‘He’s in the kitchen. He is cooking.
  • We’re here on holiday. We are staying at the Central Hotel.
  • They’re building a new hotel in the city center at the moment.

Examples of Near Future Plans or Events

  • she is meeting some friends tonight.
  • Sami and I teaching English next week.
  • David is learning to drive tomorrow.
  • we are going on vacation in July.

Negative Form

Subject + am/is/are + Not + [Verb+ing] + complement.

Negative Form Use:

We use present continuous, in its negative form, to deny:

  1. Actions happening at the moment of speaking.
  2. Actions that are planned for the future.
  3. Changes and tendencies.
  4. Consistency of the events.
  5. Temporary activities (that will finish in the future);

Contractions – Negative Form

  • I am not = I’m not.
  • You are not. = you’re not. Or, you aren’t.
  • We are not. = we’re not. Or, we aren’t
  • They are not. = they’re not. Or, they aren’t.
  • He is not. = he’s not. Or, he isn’t.
  • She is not. = she’s not. Or, she isn’t.
  • It is not. = It’s not. Or, It isn’t.

Negative Form EXAMPLES

  • Jane isn’t having dinner.
  • You’re not listening to me.
  • She’s not washing my hair.
  • We are not waiting for you.
  • My parents are sleeping now.
  • I’m not always doing homework.
  • I’m studying. I’m not watching TV.
  • The weather is nice. It’s not raining.
  • She is not going to the game tonight.
  • We’re not running tomorrow morning.
  • She isn’t eating. Or, She’s not eating.
  • You’re not seeing your brother tonight.
  • The boys are not playing in the garden.
  • I am not going to the meeting after work.
  • I am not reading my grammar book now.
  • She isn’t watching TV at the moment.
  • We are not repeating the class next week.
  • The teaching is not improving her classes.
  • The classmates are not working in groups.
  • He isn’t buying a computer at the weekend.
  • I’m learning English, I’m not learning Spanish.
  • The student is not asking questions repeatedly.
  • You can turn off the television. I’m not watching it.
  • I’m sitting on my bed with my laptop. I’m doing my homework.
  • You are not watching the movie; you are watching a lesson.

Present Continuous – Questions Form

Am/is/are + subject + [verb + ing] + complement + ?

Questions Form Use:

We use present continuous questions to ask about:

  1. Things happening now. Are you going to cinema?
  2. Temporary activities. Are you studying English?
  3. Situations of change. Is the weather in your country getting hotter?
  4. Future arrangements. Are you going to the party on Friday?

Questions Form Examples:

  1. Are you studying? Yes, I am. I’m studying present continuous.
  2. Are they going to the meeting? No, they aren’t.
  3. Is he working late? No, he isn’t.
  4. Are you reading a book right now? No, I’m not. I’m doing my homework.
  5. Is he speaking on the phone with your teacher? Yes, he is.
  6. Is the dog eating his food now? No, It’s not. It’s sleeping.
  7. Is Peter playing football? Yes, he is.
  8. Are we studying present simple? No, we aren’t. we’re studying present continuous.
  9. Are we studying present continuous? Yes, we are.
  10. Is Mary walking to school? Yes, she is.
  11. Is Sally going to India next week? No, she’s not.
  12. Is the train stopping? No, It’s not.
  13. Is our teacher coming to class? Yes, she is.
  14. Is she going out to night? No, she isn’t.