Continuous Tense

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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.

 

PRESENT CONTINOUS TENSE:

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

 

 

Examples:

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.

 

PAST CONTINUOUS TENSE:

Basic form:

 Subject  +  was/were +  verb+  ing 

Examples:

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.

 

 

FUTURE CONTINUOUS TENSE:

BASIC FORM:

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

Examples:

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?