The present continuous, also called the present progressive or present imperfect, is a verb form used in modern English that combines the present tense with the continuous aspect. It is formed by the present tense form of be and the present participle of a verb. The present continuous is generally used to describe something that is taking place at the present moment and can be employed in both the indicative and subjunctive moods. It accounts for approximately 5% of verbs in spoken English.
For example, you would write the verb work in the present continuous form by adding the -ing suffix to the verb and placing a present tense form of be (am, are, is) in front of it:
- I am working.
- You are working.
- She is working.
- We are working.
- They are working.
The present continuous is used in several instances. Its most common use is to describe something that is happening at the exact moment of speech:
- The boy is laughing.
The present continuous is also used to describe a temporary activity, even if it is not taking place at the exact moment of speech, or a temporary situation:
- They are working in Dubai.
- I am writing a book.
- I am living in Scotland until the end of the year.
This contrasts with permanent activities or situations, which are described using the simple present: I live on Main Street.
- I am resitting my French exam on Tuesday.
- My parents are always making me go to school!
- She is always playing with that doll!
- He is always eating chocolate!
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