Present Continuous Tense Chart: Tense Table, Examples, Rules & Definition

Present Continuous Tense Chart

What is Present Continuous Tense?

There are twelve major verb tenses English learners must understand, and present continuous tense (or present progressive tense) is among those. As the term suggests, action or condition in this verb tense continues in the future.

Diving deeper, present continuous tense conveys an event or circumstance happening right now, frequently, and extends or progresses in the future. For instance, if you are reviewing now and will continue in the next two hours, you express it as: I am reviewing my lesson plan for the next two hours.

In this blog, we will simplify the intricacies of the present continuous tense, break down its general formula, and summarize concepts using grammar charts.

General Formula for Present Continuous Tense:

Sentence General Formula for Present Continuous Tense
Subject + Helping Verb (am/is/are) + Main verb + ing + the rest of the sentence

Important notes on the general formula of present continuous tense:

  • The first-person singular pronoun “I” always takes the helping or auxiliary verb “am”.
  •  Singular subjects and third person singular pronouns such as he, she, and it takes the helping verb “is”.
  • Plural subjects and pronouns like we and they use the auxiliary verb “are”.
  • Use dynamic verbs when forming the main or base verb plus ing. Dynamic verbs function to show action or process. Examples of dynamic verbs are walking, running, jumping, writing, typing, eating, playing, dancing, reporting, and folding.

Present Continuous Tense Rules and Uses in English Grammar

Here are the five rules and uses governing present continuous tense:

1. Shows action that is happening at the moment

Present continuous tense narrates events as it happens in the current period.

If an activity is temporary or starting now and will end in the future, the present continuous tense gives the duration of when this event shall be completed. It uses time expressions such as now, at the moment, these days, and this week among others.

2. Denotes changing situations

When a change is noticeable, the present continuous tense is used to give this observation.

3. Represents temporary events

Change happens over time. So when there’s a new trend or behavior, the present continuous tense describes that occurrence.

4. Expresses new patterns or habitual actions

5. Sets intentions or future plans

The present continuous tense is also used when you schedule or intend to do something in the future.

english learning app banner

Present Continuous Tense Examples in Sentences

1. Shows action that is happening at the moment

  • I am baking cookies.
  • She is hanging out with the popular children in school.
  • The students are drinking coffee.
  • It is raining hard.
  • The cats are searching for food.

2. Denotes changing situations

  • I am getting better at singing.
  • His voice is turning deeper because of puberty.
  • The foxes are showing more signs of aggression.
  • Rebecca is training harder than before.
  • Storms are gaining more strength before their landfall. 

3. Represents temporary events

  • I am enjoying the ambiance here on the balcony now.
  • Liam is performing at the theatre this Friday.
  • The rock bands are touring Europe this month.
  • She is attending her history class at the moment.
  • I am walking in the park this afternoon.

4. Expresses new patterns or habitual actions

  • I am meditating more in my free time.
  • Bryan is working hard these days.
  • Some wolves are being domesticated nowadays.
  • Scientists are developing seedless fruits due to their demand in the market.
  • He is biking to work more than usual.

5. Sets intentions or future plans

  • I am saving money for the holidays.
  • Mira is washing her bedding on Saturday.
  • Jack and Jill are hiking this December.
  • I am presenting my research next conference.
  • They are solving the issues before they sign off from work.

Present Continuous Tense Chart with Rules, Formulas, and Examples

The five rules and uses of present continuous tense can be confusing. However, you can gain more clarity by studying the grammar chart below. Here are the concepts of present continuous tense at a glance:

Present Continuous Tense Grammar Chart
Present Continuous Tense General Formula:Subject + Helping Verb (am/is/are) + Main verb + ing + the rest of the sentence
shows action that is happening at the momentI am folding the laundry.

Mara is helping her mother.

The kids are playing at the park.
denotes changing situationsI am growing taller as I get older.

The bank is transitioning online as the day goes by.

Some animals are going extinct due to climate change.
represents temporary eventsI am thinking about your proposal at the moment.

He is enjoying his vacation in Iceland this week.

My pet cats are sleeping right now.
expresses new patterns or habitual actionsI am exercising regularly these days.

A population of humpback whales is migrating in June, which is unusual.

Teenagers these days are using social media more than ever before.
sets intentions or future plansI am eating a three-course dinner when I get home.

Peter is buying a cup of coffee before signing in to work.

The couples are reserving a table at the restaurant for a double date tomorrow.
English Continuous Tense

Present Continuous Tense with Different Sentence Structures

Aside from the uses of the present continuous tense explained above, there are four more sentence structures you must learn to complete your knowledge of this tense. Here are the four different sentence structures of the present continuous tense:

1. Negative Sentences Structure of Present Continuous Tense

As the name suggests, negative sentences deal with the word “not”. In the English language, we use this word to negate a statement. Negatives in the present continuous tense are structured by adding “not” after the verbs “is” and “are”. It can also be contracted as “isn’t” and “aren’t” instead of the long forms “is not” and “are not”.

2. Yes/No Questions Sentence Structure of Present Continuous Tense

Present continuous tense is also used to form questions answerable by yes or no. To do this, move the verbs am, is, and are at the beginning of the sentence.

3. WH Questions Sentence Structure of Present Continuous Tense

The six WH questions, who, what, when where, why, and how, can be structured using the present continuous tense. It is done by starting a sentence with a WH question followed by the verbs am, is, or are.

4. Adverbs Always and Still Sentence Structure of Present Continuous Tense

Adverbs express the time or frequency in which actions happen. The time frames “still” and “always” helps show present continuous events. When using those adverbs, you place them in between the helping verbs (am, is, and are) and the main verb + ing.

Present Continuous Tense Formula Chart, Rules, and Examples Table

Here is an overview of the four uses of present continuous tense in different sentences structures:

Present Continuous Tense with Different Sentence Structures Grammar Chart
negative sentencesSubject + Helping Verb (am/is/are) + not + Main verb + ing + the rest of the sentenceHe is not celebrating his birthday.
yes/no questionsHelping Verb (am/is/are) + Subject + Main verb + ing + the rest of the sentenceIs he celebrating his birthday?
WH questionsWH question + Helping Verb (am/is/are) + Subject + Main verb + ing + the rest of the sentenceWho is celebrating his birthday?
adverbs always and stillSubject + Helping Verb (am/is/are) + Adverb (still/always) + Main verb + ing + the rest of the sentenceHe is still celebrating his birthday.

More Examples of Present Continuous Tense in Different Sentence Structures

1. Examples of Negative Sentences Structure of Present Continuous Tense

Formula for Negative Sentences
Subject + Helping Verb (am/is/are) + not + Main verb + ing + the rest of the sentence
  • I am not paying for this subscription fee.
  • She is not talking to the lawyer.
  • They are not rehearsing their lines tonight.
  • Harry is not singing that song in his concert.
  • The fox is not eating your chickens.

2. Examples of Yes/No Questions Sentence Structure of Present Continuous Tense

Formula for Yes/No Questions
Helping Verb (am/is/are) + Subject + Main verb + ing + the rest of the sentence
  • Am I delivering my message correctly?
  • Is he supplying the apples at the local grocery?
  • Are they following your instructions?
  • Is Kyla selling her car?
  • Are the panelists choosing your proposal?

3. Examples of WH Questions Sentence Structure of Present Continuous Tense

Formula for WH Questions
WH question + Helping Verb (am/is/are) + Subject + Main verb + ing + the rest of the sentence
  • Who am I speaking to right now?
  • Who is Kaye assigning to complete the project?
  • Who are the kids playing with at the park?
  • What am I dealing with this time?
  • What is he doing in the office?
  • What are those policemen doing here?
  • When am I buying a new phone?
  • When is the electrician fixing those wires?
  • When are they hiring new employees?
  • Why am I saying this to you? 
  • Why is she depending on you?
  • Why are glaciers melting faster than before?
  • How am I climbing this tree?
  • How is Sam balancing law school and his day job?
  • How are they describing the accident?

4. Examples of Adverbs Always and Still Sentence Structure of Present Continuous Tense

Formula for Adverbs Always and Still
Subject + Helping Verb (am/is/are) + Adverb (still/always) + Main verb + ing + the rest of the sentence
  • I am still camping at Prairie Oasis.
  • He is always ordering food online.
  • They are still improving the layout of the skyscraper.
  • Lilly is always using honey to sweeten her tea.
  • Tom and his brothers are still swimming in the sea.

Importance of Present Continuous Tense Chart in English Grammar

Transforming present tense rules into a chart form is the best way to summarize the concepts above. A complete chart gives a simple overview which makes learning tenses less confusing. With a grammar reference chart, you understand the present continuous tense easier. It is also a major time saver compared to reading pages of explanation.

As it is, learning a foreign language is challenging for everyone. Therefore, language teacher resources must include the chart form of tenses as a visual aid for learners to grasp the topic better. The chart can help you remember the rules of tenses easily. You do not have to read long explanations about the tense. Instead, you can refer to the chart whenever you need to know how to use the present continuous tense.


The present continuous tense is one of the most important aspects of any language learner’s toolkit. In English grammar, it is used to express actions occurring right now, frequently, or until a future time. Learning the present continuous tense helps you narrate and express your thoughts clearly. When you find it hard to understand, you can always use a grammar chart to simplify your learning.

Frequently Asked Questions

When do we use present continuous tense?

Generally, the present continuous tense is used to show actions that are happening at the moment or right now. More specifically, it has four more used in English grammar. The first is to denote changing observable situations. It also represents temporary events that are frequently occurring until a future time. Thirdly, it expresses new patterns or habits. And lastly, it is used to set intentions, future plans, or appointments.

What are the 10 examples of present perfect continuous tense?

1. Thea is studying hard for the qualifying exam.
2. Phillip is playing football.
3. We are going to visit our relatives tomorrow.
4. Her friends are eating pizza.
5. I am watching TV tonight.
6. We are waiting for the bus.
7. They are having breakfast.
8. Tad and Lilly are buying a house soon.
9. He is listening to music.
10. I am sleeping on the couch.

What is the formula for present continuous tense?

The present continuous tense follows this sentence formula or structure: Subject + Helping Verb (am/is/are) + Main verb + ing + the rest of the sentence. You can easily identify it because it uses the helping verbs am, is, and are. 

What are the rules of using present continuous tense?

The general rule is to use the present continuous tense to show events happening at the moment. Following English grammar, the verb must always agree with the subject. As such, the first-person singular pronoun “I” is always paired with “am”. The third person singular pronouns such as he, she, and it takes the helping verb “is”. Singular subjects also follow this rule. Meanwhile, plural subjects and pronouns like “we and they” use the auxiliary verb “are”.

Aside from expressing what is happening right now, the present continuous tense is often used to describe things that occur frequently or regularly. For example, “He goes to work every day.” This means that he does so daily. It may be used to talk about habits or routines. Another example would be “They eat lunch together every week.” This shows that they usually eat lunch together weekly.

Does the present continuous tense have to be what you are doing at the moment?

Yes. In the English language, the present continuous tense has to express what you are doing at the moment. But it can also show observations, habits, plans, and trends.

English app infographic

Learn from History – Follow the Science – Listen to the Experts

What’s the one thing that makes LillyPad so special? Lilly! Lilly’s a personal English tutor, and has people talking all over the world! Lilly makes improving your English easy. With Lilly, you can read in four different ways, and you can read just about anything you love. And learning with Lilly, well that’s what you call liberating! 

For learners of all ages striving to improve their English, LillyPad combines the most scientifically studied and recommended path to achieving English fluency and proficiency with today’s most brilliant technologies!

Additionally, the platform incorporates goal-setting capabilities, essential tracking & reporting, gamification, anywhere-anytime convenience, and significant cost savings compared to traditional tutoring methodologies.

At LillyPad, everything we do is focused on delivering a personalized journey that is meaningful and life-changing for our members. LillyPad isn’t just the next chapter in English learning…

…it’s a whole new story!

Do you want to improve your English? Visit

Follow us on Facebook or Instagram!

lillypad eanglish language learning software
Valentina Gagliardi

Valentina Gagliardi

Valentina has always been a teacher at heart. After spending eight years teaching college-level English, she realised that her true passion was helping people learn and grow – especially when it came to learning English. She firmly believes that in order for language learning to be successful, it’s important to create a comfortable and welcoming environment where students feel safe to experiment and take risks. When she’s not writing for the Lillypad community, Valentina loves travelling, reading and going for long walks with her dog Freddy.

Related Articles

Improve your English Faster with Lilly!
An Artificial Intelligent Tutor!

Latest Posts


How long will it take you to improve your English?


Design, write and practice your own phrases or learn 3,500+ premade English phrases with Lilly!