How To Form The Present Continuous Tense: Affirmative, Negative and Questions.
Forming the present continuous couldn’t be more straightforward. The present continuous is perhaps one of the most important tenses to master as it is absolutely essential for natural-sounding English conversations. As such, it’s rather conclusive that nailing this tense is important. Fortunately, the present continuous is pretty easy to formulate.
Formulating The Present Continuous:
We form the present continuous with the auxiliary verb “be” and the present participle form of the main verb. For the auxiliary verb “be”, we use its present forms: am, are and is. Regarding the present participle form of the second verb, we formulate it by simply adding “ing” to the base form of the verb.
So, general rule of thumb is: am/are/is + present participle (verb+ing).
There are, however, some grammatical guidelines, exceptions and rules to follow in order to form the present continuous tense correctly.
Most verbs ending with consonant + “e”
Most verbs ending in consonant + vowel + consonant
Verbs ending in consonant + vowel + consonant where the last consonant is “w”, “x” or “y”
Verbs ending in “ie”
Verbs ending in “c”
Take off the “e”
Double the last consonant
Don’t double the last consonant
Change the “ie” to “y”
Here are some affirmative examples of present continuous sentences:
- I am typing on my computer.
- They are laughing at the dog.
- You are swimming in the pool.
To make a negative present continuous sentence, we use an auxiliary verb (which we already have) + “not” + present participle:
- I am not typing on my computer.
- They are not laughing at the dog.
- You are not swimming in the pool.
We can use a contraction of the auxiliary verb in order to sound more natural in spoken English. For example:
- I’m typing on my computer.
- They’re laughing at the dog.
- You ‘re not swimming in the pool.
To make present continuous questions we can use subject-auxiliary inversion. This means that we swap around the position of the auxiliary verb and the subject. Here’s how it works with yes/no questions:
- Am I typing on my computer?
- Are they laughing at the dog?
- Are you swimming in the pool?
And here are some examples of object and adverb questions, adding a question word to the beginning of the questions:
- What am I typing on my computer?
- Why are they laughing at the dog?
- Who are you going out with?
So there you have it – a definitive guide on how to form affirmative, negative and question sentences in the present continuous.
Is the present continuous a straightforward tense for you? Let us know your thoughts!