Chapter 5-8-2: The Present Progressive / Present Progressive Continuous / Present Continuous Tense

Grammar > Using Verbs > Verb Tenses > Present Continuous

I am watching television now.

WHEN TO USE IT: while the simple present and the present progressive are sometimes used interchangeably, the present progressive emphasises the continuing (continuous) nature of an act, event, or condition. Some people refer to this as the present progressive continuous or simply the present continuous.

Each of the highlighted verbs in the following sentences is in the present progressive tense. In each sentence the on-going nature of the action is emphasised by the use of the present progressive rather than the simple present. Some keywords often associated with this concept are at the moment, right now, this month / week / morning, in the process of, etc.

Ben is looking for the first paperback editions of all of Raymond Chandler's books.

Jayvan is dusting all the shelves on the second floor of the shop.

The union members are pacing up and down in front of the factory.

CKOI is in the process of broadcasting the hits of the 90s this evening.

The presses are printing the first edition of tomorrow's paper.

The present progressive is occasionally used to refer to a future event when used in conjunction with an adverb or adverbial phrase. Some keywords often associated with this concept are this weekend, this winter, next month / week, etc.

The doors are opening in 10 minutes.

The premier is arriving on Tuesday.

Classes are ending next week.

The publisher is distributing the galley proofs next Wednesday.


Spelling the present progressive is not easy. It is not as simple as just adding “ing” to the end of some verbs. Instead, you must use the present participle. See grammar Chapter 5-5-1 in ESL Radius for more information on the rules for correctly spelling the present participle.

Grammar Toons

Right now, Joanna is meeting with Christy, Denise, and Dianne to see how well a project is progressing...

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