Published On: April 1, 2012

Lesson Four — Verb Tenses: Present Continuous

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We use the Present Continuous verb tense (also known as the Present Progressive) to express the idea that something is happening now, at this very moment. In English, now can mean: this second, today, this month, this year, this century, and so on. Sometimes, we use the Present Continuous to say that we are in the process of doing a longer action which is in progress. This verb tense is not to be confused with the Simple Present, which is used for habitual or repeated actions.

Examples: You are studying English .

Are you studying English?

You are not studying English.

(All of these sentences can be said while having a drink with a friend.)

  • am studying to become a teacher.
  • am not studying to become a dentist.
  • am reading the book Room.
  • am not reading any books right now.
  • Are you working on any special projects at work?
  • Aren’t you teaching at the University now?

Complete the sentences with the Present Continuous using the verbs in brackets:

Answers will be provided at the end of the exercise.

  1. John (read) __________________________ a book now.
  2. What (you do) ___________________________ tonight?

  3. Jack and Peter (work) ___________________ late today.

  4. Silvia (not listen) ________________________ to music.

  5. Maria (sit) ___________________________ next to Paul.

  6. How many other students (you study) ___________with?

  7. The phone (not ring) ___________________________.

  8. The children (watch) _________________________their favorite show on TV.

  9. I need to go to the doctor, I (feel) _______________very well.

10.The students (do) _________________ their homework.

Answers: 1(is reading) 2(are you doing) 3(are working)4(is not listening) 5(is sitting) 6(are you studying) 7(is not ringing) 8(are watching) 9( am not feeling) 10(are doing).



These exercises were written by Luiza Moura, who has a Master’s Degree in teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) from UFPR. She is a private English instructor in Curitiba and can be contacted at

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