English Grammar Course Unit 1: Present continuous Tense (I am doing)

Why should you study this unit?

The most common sentences in any language are the ones that convey “status”. This is so because these sentences answer the most funamental questions like

  • Who are you?
  • Where are you?
  • Where do come from?
  • What is this?
  • Where is that?
  • How old are you?

This unit and the next unit (Link) deals with those questions and their answers. We use them all the time so make sure you get them right!

A. Study this example situation:
Rita is in her car. She is on her way to work.
She is driving to work.
This means: She is driving now, at the time of speaking.
This is the present continuous tense

I                       am           (= I’m)
he/she/(it)       is            (= he’s, etc.)           } driving
we/they/you  are          (= we’re, etc.)
We use the present continuous when we talk about something that is happening at the time of speaking:

Please don’t make so much noise. I’m studying. (not I study)
“Where is Lisa ?” “She’s taking a bath.” (not she takes)
Let’s go out now. It isn’t raining anymore.
(at a party) Hello, Rita. Are you enjoying the party? (not do you enjoy)

B. We also use the present continuous when we talk about something that is happening around
the time of speaking, but not necessarily exactly at the time of speaking. Study this example situation:
Tom and Rita are talking and having coffee in a cafe. Tom says: “I’m reading an interesting book at the moment. I’ll lend it to you when I’ve finished it.”
Tom is not reading the book at the time of speaking. He means that he has begun the book and hasn’t finished it yet. He is in the middle of reading it. Here are some more examples:
Maria is studying English at a language school. (not studies)
Have you heard about George? He is building his own house. (not builds)
But perhaps Maria and George are not doing these things exactly at the time of speaking.
C.We often use the present continuous when we talk about a period around the present. For example: today, this week, this season, etc.:
“You’re working hard today.” “Yes, I have a lot to do.”
Tom isn’t playing football this season. He wants to concentrate on his
studies.

D.We use the present continuous when we talk about changing situations:
The population of the world is rising very fast. (not rises)
Is your English getting better? (not does … get)

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