1. The present continuous
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:
|If the verb ends in a consonant, we simply add -ing
|If the verb ends in -e, we drop the -e and add -ing
|The rule is not always followed:
|However, if the vowel is double it is maintained and we simply add -ing
|If the verb ends in -y this one remains
|One-syllable verbs ending in a consonant-vowel-consonant sequence double the last consonant.
|Verbs ending in -y, -x, -w will not double the last consonant
|Two-syllable verbs whose stressed syllable is the last one follow the same rule
|Verbs ending in -ie are replaced by a -y plus -ing
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
sleeping I'm not sleeping on the sofa. You are not
You aren't sleeping on the sofa. He is not
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 theyAre you watching a film? Yes, we are. Adverb Subject AUXILIARY No, I 'm not you 're not
he 's not
she it we 're not
you theyIs 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.I am studying at university.
- 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.
The present continuous (I am singing) has the following structure:
|Subject + to be + verb (-ing) + (complement)
|I am flying to Barcelona.
|Subject + to be + not + verb (-ing) + (complement)
|She isn't cooking pasta.
|To be + Subject + verb (-ing) + (complement)?
|Are you studying? Yes, we are.
The main uses of the present continuous are:
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.