The Present Progressive


How to Form the Present Progressive

The rule for forming the present progressive is as follows:
present form of "to be" + present participle (-ing form)

The present form of "to be" looks like this:

I am     You are     He/She/It is     We are     You are     They are

The present participle is sometimes called the -ing form. The basic rule to form the -ing form is verb + ing . (Also see separate article: Present Participle)

Lara is eating lunch.     We are baking a cake.     You are having a child.     They are telling us a story.

How to Use the Present Progressive

1. Continuous Actions

Continuous actions that happen during a certain time or are in progress right now, for a limited duration.


Marie and Paul are playing in the garden.
We are cleaning the house.
This weekend I'm staying with my aunt in Berlin.
Mia is going to summer school this week and next.
They are opening a dance academy.

2. Concrete Plans for the Near Future

The present progressive can also be used to talk about plans for the near future. This is often clarified by using time adverbs.


I'm joining a yoga school in India next spring.
They are opening a dance academy next summer.

3. Changes Taking Place

The present progressive can also be used to talk about certain changes and tendencies in our environment.


People are trying harder to live an environmentally conscious life.
Children are spending increasing amounts of time in front of TV screens.


As you are reading this article you can proudly say:

I am learning all about the present progressive.

And maybe you have even managed to convince others to join you, so you can also say:

In our study group tomorrow we're reading about the present progressive.

Finally, let me note a laudable development:

More and more English speakers are studying their own grammar.