Present Continuous with Timeaver Quiz and Flashcards

Suitable for Elementary, Grades 6+, and ESL learners.

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In English, we use verb tenses to show when an action is happening. The present continuous is one such form, and this guide should show students some examples of what that looks like, how to form it and practice when to use the present continuous tense with our multiple-choice quiz.

How do I Form the Present Continuous?

With the present continuous, you can use am, is, or are subjects to start forming it. Once you have your subject, you must pair it with a present participle. The present participle verb form ends in -ing suffixes. As you might expect, we use this participle to form actions that are happening now. You can also invert this verb form to express the idea that something is not happening now.

  1. She is singing.
  2. I am doing my schoolwork.
  3. He is showering.
  4. What are you doing tomorrow afternoon?
  5. They are not doing anything, or they aren't doing anything.

Forming the Present Continuous

Want to form the present continuous? The structure of the Present Continuous tense is:

Type Subject Auxillary Verb Be Main Verb Example
+ I am present participle + -ing walking (walk)
+ You/We/They are present participle + -ing singing (sing)
+ She/he/it is present participle + -ing going (go)
- I am not + present participle + -ing walking (walk)
-We are not + present participle + -ing waiting (wait)
? Is she present participle + -ing coming tomorrow?
?Are you present participle + -ing watching TV?

Present Continuous Tense Flashcards

See if you can fill in the following flashcards. Remember the gerund - ing! Flip the flashcards for the answers.

What Does the Present Continuous Look Like?

The present continuous is sometimes called the present progressive. As we mentioned in the introduction, the present continuous is something we've designed to talk about, an action that is still ongoing in the present sense of time. However, that isn't all that this form does. In some situations, we might use it to talk about something that would take place in the very near future. Let's look at both of these possibilities with a couple of examples.

  1. They are doing the laundry. The roommate is engaged in the action of washing or cleaning the clothes at the present time when you see them. This is a simple way to understand present continuous verb forms. Because you cannot do your laundry now, you can use the same verb form to express the opposite idea.
  2. Your roommate is doing the laundry now. Therefore, you are not doing the laundry now. You don't need to use it only for one person, however. Further, you don't need to express a definite action with it. In either case, you can pluralize it by changing your subject.
  3. They are reading books. They is a plural form that uses the same tense. Additionally, you might ask a question about it. If you are wondering about something, you might ask yourself:
  4. Are they cleaning the bathroom? This is a question, and you are not sure if the continuous action of the bathroom cleaning job is happening now. However, it is still the correct form, and we can use it to determine which actions are happening or not.
  5. What are you doing there? The same rule applies even if you don't know that anyone is performing any action. You may see someone doing something you cannot see or are unsure about, but you want to find out.

Present Continuous Examples

There are a few other main ways we can use the present continuous tense. One of the other ways to use it is by expressing actions in progress that take a much longer time to complete. For example, someone might tell you they are studying to become a marine biologist. This is yet another of the present continuous tense examples you might see in the real world. It tells you about an ongoing action happening in the present, but it will take this person a few years to get from start to finish.

  1. My uncle is going to live in France.
  2. It is going to take us years to finish our schoolwork.
  3. My sister is studying to become a doctor.
  4. She is going to live abroad.
  5. He's starting his coding course.

Present Continuous for Things About to Happen

Even though we call it the present continuous tense, you can also use it to talk about actions that will take place soon.

  1. Mary is going to a new school.
  2. We are meeting with the team for dinner after work.
  3. Next week, we're traveling to see my auntie.
  4. What are you doing next week?
  5. I've got a doctor's appointment next week; I'm going on Tuesday.

Are There Exceptions for the Tense?

Yes, there are some things you need to remember about the present continuous tense, which is particularly important when separating speech from writing. For example, it isn't uncommon to hear someone say something along the lines of I am loving this chocolate cake. This is fine in informal, spoken speech, but it is incorrect when considering English mechanics. Abstract concepts like these are non-continuous, and you cannot mix them with continuous forms. It is better to say or write that you love this chocolate cake, for example. The present perfect, past and past perfect are all verb forms that can take continuous forms, too.

Present Continuous Quiz

Think you've got it? See if you can answer the present continuous multiple-choice question quiz.

1. ____ they coming for lunch?

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2. Max ___ not sleep__ in our bedroom.

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3. I am ______ my breakfast.

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4. My uncle is ______ French.

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5. They ________ a new Apple store in the mall.

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Want more resources for the ELA classroom? Take a look at our figurative language worksheets for Grades 3-6+ and reading comprehension worksheets for empowering ELA teachers, timesaver strategies for homeschooling, and more!