The present continuous tense (beginner level)

The present continuous tense is formed by putting the –ing form of the verb after be. We have already learned that the verb be has three forms in the present tense: is, am and are.

Study the sentences given below.

Affirmative / Question / Negative

She is writing. / Is she writing? / She is not writing.

I am writing. / Am I writing? /I am not writing.

You are writing. / Are you writing? / You are not writing.

They are writing. / Are they writing? / They are not writing.

We are writing. / Are we writing? / We are not writing.

Rohan is writing. / Is Rohan writing? / Rohan is not writing.

The students are writing. / Are the students writing? / The students are not writing.


Use is when the subject is a singular noun or a singular pronoun like he, she or it.

Use am when the subject is the first person singular pronoun I.

Use are when the subject is a plural noun or a plural pronoun like you, we and they. Note that you can be plural or singular. Both singular and plural forms of you are used with are.


The present continuous tense is used to talk about temporary actions and situations that are going on ‘around now’.

  • I am writing.
  • She is working.
  • The children are playing.
  • It is raining.
  • The wind is blowing.
  • Birds are singing.
  • Dogs are barking.

Talking about changes

The present continuous tense is also used to talk about changing situations.

  • She is getting fatter. (NOT She gets fat.)
  • The climate is getting colder. (NOT The climate gets cold.)

To talk about the future

The present continuous tense can also be used to talk about pre-planned future events.

  • ‘What are you doing tomorrow?’ ‘I’m visiting my parents.’
  • I’m seeing her tomorrow.
  • She is arriving by the 3.30 train.