Continuous Tense


What is the continuous tense?

The tense, which uses verbs to express actions that are ongoing. The continuous tense also comes in Past, Present and Future forms.



The present continuous of any verb is composed of two parts – the present tense of the verb ‘to be’( am, is are) + the present participle of the main verb.

Basic form:

Subject + (am,is,are) +  verb +  ing 
(am,is,are) + subject + verb +  ing




I am going           Am I going?

You are going     Are you going?

We are going     Are we going?


When someone uses the present continuous, they are thinking about something that is unfinished or incomplete

•  To describe an action that is going on at this moment: You are using the Internet.

•  To describe an action or event in the future, which has already been planned or prepared: We're going on holiday tomorrow.

•  To describe a temporary event or situation: The weather forecast was good, but it's raining at the moment.



Basic form:

 Subject  +  was/were +  verb+  ing 


At 3 PM, I was having lunch.       

They were talking about her when she walked into the room.   


  • We use the Past Continuous to talk about actions or situations that lasted for some time in the past: I was watching TV yesterday in the evening.
  • The Past Continuous is often used when one action in progress was interrupted by another action in the past: I was talking with James when the telephone rang.
  • We also use this tense to talk about two or more activities happening at the same. We usually use when or while to link the two sentences: I was watching TV and Barbara was reading a book.   The family was eating the dinner and talking.





Subject   will  +  be  +  Verb +  ing 
 Will  +  Subject +  be  +  Verb +  ing


I will be taking my English language exam tomorrow.

She won't be eating dinner now.

We mainly use the Future Continuous to indicate that we will be doing something at a specified time in the future.  Will you be coming home?

  • The first use of the Future Continuous is to express future actions in progress: In an hour, I will be sitting in front of my TV.
  • Use this tense also to make guesses about something in the present or future: He won't be coming any time soon. 
  • If you want to learn about somebody's intentions, you should always use the Future Continuous rather than the Present Simple: Will you be coming home before or after 10 PM?