How Do We Use The Present Continuous Tense?

The present continuous tense is used for the following reasons:

  • Action happening in the present or around the current time.
  • Action that will take place in the future.

Action Happening in the Present

  1. Look at the table for an action that is happening in the present.
I am writing a story.
past present future
__________________
The action is happening in the present.
  1. Look at the table for an action that is happening around the current time. This action must happen shortly before or shortly after the present. The action does not happen continuously, and it is not a habit.
Richard is going out with Jane.
past present future
_________________ _________________ _________________
The action is happening now.

Take a look at the following examples:

  • I am walking my dog.
  • He is editing my book.

For An Action In The Future

To describe an action in the future, you will first need to add a future word. Then you can add a present continuous tense to talk about the future. You will understand this word by reading the context of the sentence. Tomorrow, next month, in June, and on Christmas are examples of present continuous words describing the future. Prior plans are also required for the event.

He is going to visit his family next Christmas.
past present future
___________ ___________
There is a plan for the future. The action will take place in the future.

Have a look at the following examples:

  • She is going to be a witch for Halloween.
  • There is going to be a party for his birthday.
  • We are getting married next month.
  • What are we having for dinner tonight?

Prior planning was made in the previous examples. This was planned before the person spoke, and was not spontaneous.

Present perfect tense is a significant part of the English language, but it can be difficult to those that speak other languages and are not native speakers of English. Using the present perfect tense properly can be difficult even though the structure is simple. To add to that, there are differences between British and American English that can cause confusion.

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