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Exercise 1 Exercise 2

1. The present continuous

The present continuous is a verb tense that is formed with the verb to be in present (am, is, are) and the main verb in gerund (-ing)
I am reading a magazine.
They are dancing Lindy Hop

To form the gerund, we must add the ending -ing to the infinitive form of the verb. Depending on the root of the verb the spelling will vary:

Gerund Examples
If the verb ends in a consonant, we simply add -ing
Read
 
Reading
Act
 
Acting
Meet
 
Meeting
Draw
 
Drawing
If the verb ends in -e, we drop the -e and add -ing
Write
 
Writing
Skate
 
Skating
The rule is not always followed:
Be
 
Being
Go
 
Going
However, if the vowel is double it is maintained and we simply add -ing
See
 
Seeing
 
If the verb ends in -y this one remains
Study
 
Studying
Fly
 
Flying
One-syllable verbs ending in a consonant-vowel-consonant sequence double the last consonant.
Get
 
Getting
Run
 
Running
Swim
 
Swimming
 
Verbs ending in -y, -x, -w will not double the last consonant
Blow
 
Blowing
Fix
 
Fixing
Two-syllable verbs whose stressed syllable is the last one follow the same rule
Begin
 
Beginning
Forget
 
Forgetting
Exceptions
Travel
 
Travelling
Verbs ending in -ie are replaced by a -y plus -ing
Die
 
Dying
Lie
 
Lying

2. Structure of the present continuous

  • Affirmative form

    In affirmative sentences, the present continuous is formed by placing the verb to be in present after the subject and then the main verb ending in -ing.

    Subject AUXILIARY Verb (-ing) Examples
    I am sleeping I am sleeping on the sofa.
    You are You are sleeping on the sofa.
    He is He is sleeping on the sofa.
    She She is sleeping on the sofa.
    It It is sleeping on the sofa.
    We are We are sleeping on the sofa.
    You You are sleeping on the sofa.
    They They are sleeping on the sofa.
  • Negative form

    In negative sentences the particle not is simply added to the verb to be, keeping the rest of the structure.

    Subject AUXILIARY Verb (-ing) Examples
    I am not
    'm not
    sleeping I'm not sleeping on the sofa.
    You are not
    aren't
    You aren't sleeping on the sofa.
    He is not
    isn't
    He isn't sleeping on the sofa.
    She She isn't sleeping on the sofa.
    It It isn't sleeping on the sofa.
    We are We aren't sleeping on the sofa.
    You You aren't sleeping on the sofa.
    They They aren't sleeping on the sofa.
  • La forma Interrogative form

    In interrogative sentences, the verb to be goes first, followed by the subject and then the main verb.

    auxiliarY Subject Verb (-ing) Examples
    Am I sleeping? Am I sleeping on the sofa?
    Are You Are you sleeping on the sofa?
    Is He Is he sleeping on the sofa?
    She Is she sleeping on the sofa?
    It Is it sleeping on the sofa?
    Are We Are we sleeping on the sofa?
    You Are you sleeping on the sofa?
    they Are they sleeping on the sofa?

    In short answers we put the adverb yes or no, followed by the subject (a pronoun) and the verb to be.

    Adverb Subject AUXILIARY
    Yes, I am
    you are
    he is
    she
    it
    we are
    you
    they
    Are you watching a film? Yes, we are.
    Adverb Subject AUXILIARY
    No, I 'm not
    you 're not
    aren't
    he 's not
    isn't
    she
    it
    we 're not
    aren't
    you
    they
    Is she  doing her homework?  No, she isn't.

3. How do we use the present continuous?

The present continuous is mainly used when we:

  • Refer to an action that is happening at the moment of speaking.
    She is reading now.
    They are cooking at the moment.
  • Refer to actions that are taking place in the present but not necessarily at the time of speaking. They are usually temporary situations.
    This summer I'm working in this café.
    In this example, this boy is saying that this summer (temporary situation) he is working in that café. However, he is not working there at the moment of speaking, maybe because it's his day off.
    I am studying at university.
    The same happens with this example, the girl is studying at university at present, but not right now, as she has just probably finished her lectures.
  • Planned activities that will take place in the near future. It usually suggests that more than one person is involved in the activity ant that everything is arranged.
    I'm having dinner with Sara tonight.
    She is visiting her sister next Saturday.
  • With the adverb of frequency always to refer to actions that are repeated frequently and that generally represent an annoyance for the speaker.
    My sister is always putting on my clothes!
    She is always singing!
  • Situations that are changing around us. It is generally used with verbs like get, change, become, improve, begin, start, etc.
    The situation in this country is improving.
    He is getting taller and thinner.
    Remember that the present continuous is not used when the main verb is a stative verb.

Remember!

The present continuous (I am singing) has the following structure:

  Structure Examples
AFFIRMATIVE Subject + to be + verb (-ing) + (complement) I am flying to Barcelona.
NEGATIVE Subject + to be + not + verb    (-ing) + (complement) She isn't cooking pasta.
INTERROGATIVE To be + Subject + verb  (-ing) + (complement)? Are you studying? Yes, we are.

The main uses of the present continuous are:

Use Examples
To describe an action that occurs at the moment of speaking
Mary is doing the washing-up at the moment.
Temporary action that occurs at present but not at the moment
I'm doing a school project on ants.
Planned activities that will occur in the near future
I'm playing tennis with Sue at 7:00.
With always, in repetitive actions that generate discomfort to the speaker
Mike is always breaking things.
Situations that are changing around us
She is getting better at Maths.

 

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