be -ing: Present Progressive/Present Continuous Tense
Many resources call this the “present progressive” or “present continuous”. But, you don’t need to worry too much about what grammarians call it. Most native English speakers don’t know what it’s called but they know what it means.
Here we’ll look this meaning based on the key parts of this structure: be and the -ing form.
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We talk about things that are not finished.
We use be with the -ing form.
We talk about things that have started and are not finished.
We talk about things that have not started and are not finished. We know or say when.
We use the present form of be (am/are/is) and the -ing form to talk about unfinished actions. These actions finish in the future.
I’m eating breakfast.
This started in the past and finishes in the future. It is happening now.
I’m eating breakfast at 6AM.
This starts and finishes in the future. It is happening in the future.
We also talk about things that started in the past and finish in the future that are not happening right now.
Sometimes exactly when doesn’t matter. We know it is in the near future.
I’m learning Spanish.
We know that it isn’t happening right now. I’m speaking English now.
I’m getting a new bike.
This is in the future. We know that it isn’t happening in the present.
|We’re eating eggs.
|I’m living in Sweden.
|at 7:30 tomorrow.
|He’s having breakfast at 7:30 tomorrow.
|You’re playing soccer on Sunday.
We use be -ing to refer to something that is NOT finished.
1. Find the -ing form
2. Complete the sentences
3. Complete the conversation
Be -ing is a very useful chunk of language, and one of the four parts that make up the 12 or 16 English tense patterns.
Next, review and compare sentences with the present form and be -ing to better understand the meaning be -ing adds.
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