March 20th, 2012 in English Learning
Continuous verb forms, also called progressive forms, are made with be + -ing.
I am waiting for his call. (Present continuous – active voice)
The dinner is being cooked. (Present continuous – passive voice)
Jane was cooking when Peter arrived. (Past continuous – active voice)
The dinner was being cooked. (Past continuous – passive voice)
Susie has been studying since morning. (Present perfect continuous – active voice)
I will be going out this evening. (Future continuous)
Uses of the continuous verb forms
The continuous verb forms are used to talk about temporary and ongoing actions and situations. Simple and perfect forms, on the other hand, are used to talk about more permanent and completed actions or situations.
Why is she standing at the gate? (A temporary, ongoing situation)
She stood at the gate for hours. (A more permanent or completed situation)
I have read that novel. (Completed action)
I have been watching a lot of action films recently. (Not necessarily completed action)
When I reached home I discovered that water was running down the wall. (Here the reference is to a temporary situation.)
The Rhine runs into the North Sea. (NOT The Rhine is running into the North Sea.) (Here the reference is to a permanent situation.)
The castle has stood on the hill for 800 years. (Permanent situation)
She has been standing at the gate for an hour. (A temporary, ongoing situation)
When a continuous verb form is used to refer to a short momentary action, it often indicates repetition.
Why are you throwing stones at the dogs? (The person must be throwing stones repeatedly.)
He was jumping up and down in excitement. (Repeated action)