In the last post, we looked at the present simple. Let’s move on to the present continuous.

Present Continuous:

Positive/Affirmative:

Example: I am reading a book.

Use: To talk about an action currently in progress. I began reading the book before I spoke, and will continue reading after I speak. At this moment in time, I have a book in my hand and I am reading it.

FormSubject (I) + to be (am/is/are) + -ing form of verb (reading) …

Capture

I am reading.

You/We/They/You (plural) are reading.

He/She/It is reading.

Negative:

Example: I am not reading a book right now.

***NOTE: You may hear certain speakers (Irish people) say “I amn’t reading.” This is incorrect and equivalent to the American “I ain’t reading.”

The correct contraction is I’m not reading a book right now.

FormSubject (I) + to be (am/is/are) + not + -ing form of verb (reading) …

Interrogative/Question Form:

Example: Are you reading a book at the moment?

Form: To be (am/is/are) + Subject (I/He/You) + -ing form of verb (reading) …

Other uses of present continuous:

Changing situations: The earth is warming/The Himalayas are growing.

Very likely future situations: I am flying to London next week (I booked my ticket, it is almost certain I am going – more on this when we look at futures).

In our next post we’ll be looking at something that can be quite tricky for German speakers: those pesky verbs that can only take a simple tense and those we can use as an -ing.