Understanding Present Progressive tense: Formation, Usage, and Signal Words

When discussing actions that are immediate or temporal, the Present Progressive tense, also known as the Present Continuous tense, is used. The Present Progressive tense is created by combining the verb phrase and the form "to be," unlike the Simple Present.

To help you quickly grasp the Present Progressive tense, we'll demonstrate how to form it, explain when to use it, and provide you with some example sentences and signal words.

The formation of the Present Progressive tense

You must conjugate the verb "to be" in the simple present tense (am, is, are) and then form the next verb in the gerund (gerund form) to create the present progressive tense. By adding the -ing ending to a verb, the gerund is created.

Look at the following examples of present progressive sentences to gain a better understanding. You will gain more understanding and confidence in using the present progressive tense if you practice writing some sentences in it.

The use of the Present Progressive tense

Use the present progressive tense in English to indicate that something is happening right now. You can convey that a current action, state, or state of affairs is transient and not permanent in this way.

Additionally, you can indicate that a state or action is planned and will occur soon by using the present progressive tense. To better understand how to use the Present Progressive tense, it's best to look at the following signal words and example sentences.

Example sentences for the Present progressive tense

Verb Example
To go I am going to the gym.
To walk You are walking to the park.
To eat Frank is eating his lunch.
To cook They are cooking dinner.
To read We are reading an exciting book.
To present Paul is presenting his project in the meeting.
To throw Laura is throwing the ball for her dog.
To clean I am cleaning my kitchen.
To write They are writing their exam.

Signal words for the Present progressive tense

Signal word Example
Now I am studying English now.
At the moment He is playing video games at the moment.
Currently They are currently working on a new project.
Right now She is watching a movie right now.
Look!, Listen! Look! He is dancing in the street.
Next I am meeting my friend next week.
Soon She is soon graduating from university.
Tomorrow They are leaving for vacation tomorrow.
Tonight We are staying home tonight.

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