What Is The Present Continuous Tense?

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Dan

Are you a teacher trying to educate your students on the present continuous tense?

Are you overwhelmed just thinking about introducing this concept easily and understandably? Don’t worry; you’ve come to the right place!

This blog post will discuss the present continuous tense, why it matters, and tips on teaching it.

Presenting such a complex concept can sometimes feel intimidating but break it down step-by-step. Soon, your students will understand exactly what the present continuous tense is about.

Related: For more, check out our article on The Future Perfect Continuous Tense  here.

The Present Continuous Tense: Definition and Usage

The present continuous tense is a verb tense used to describe an action in progress when speaking or for a limited period around the moment. It is also known as the present progressive tense. In English, it is formed using the present tense of the verb to be (‘am’, ‘is ‘, ‘are’) and the present participle (verb + ing).

Examples:

  • I am eating breakfast right now.
  • She is reading a book at the moment.
  • They are watching a movie tonight.
  • He plays soccer every Saturday.
  • We are studying English grammar this week.

Difference between the Present Continuous Tense and the Present Simple Tense:

The present continuous tense is often confused with the present simple tense, but there is a significant difference between the two. While the present continuous tense describes an action in progress at the moment of speaking or for a limited period around the moment, the present simple tense describes habitual or permanent actions.

For example:

  • Present continuous: “I am reading a book right now.”
  • Present simple: “I read books every day.”

Another difference is that the present simple tense describes general truths or laws of nature, while the present continuous tense describes temporary actions or situations.

For example:

  • Present continuous: “He is learning French for his trip to France next week.”
  • Present simple: “Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius.”

Usage of the Present Continuous Tense:

Actions in Progress: The present continuous tense describes activities happening at the moment of speaking or for a limited period around the moment of speaking.

Example: “I am writing an essay right now.”

Temporary Situations: The present continuous tense describes transient situations or actions that may change soon.

Example: “She is staying with us for a few days.”

Future Plans: The present continuous tense can be used to describe plans or arrangements that are already made.

Example: “We are meeting at the park at 10 am tomorrow.”

Annoyance: The present continuous tense can describe an undesirable or frustrating action.

Example: “He always interrupts me when I’m trying to work.”

Multiple Actions Happening at the Same Time: The present continuous tense can simultaneously describe two or more actions.

Example: “I’m cooking dinner while my husband is doing the dishes.”

The present continuous tense is a very useful verb tense used in English to describe actions in progress when speaking or for a limited period around the moment. It can explain temporary situations, plans, and annoying or frustrating actions.

Steps for Teaching the Present Continuous Tense:

  1. Introduce the Concept: Start by introducing the concept of verbs and tenses to your child. Explain what verbs are, what they do, and how they are used in sentences. Use simple examples such as “I am running” to show how using verbs can express actions or states of being in the present moment.
  2. Review Existing Knowledge: Ask your child questions about sentences with verbs such as “What are you doing right now?” or “What happened yesterday?”. This will help them review and practice their knowledge of verb tenses while also giving you an idea of which areas need more focus during the lesson.
  3. Break Down sentences: To make teaching easier, break down sentences into their parts so your child can understand them better. For example, “I am playing the guitar” can be broken down into two parts – “I” (subject) and “am playing the guitar” (verb). Help your child identify the subject and verb phrases within each sentence before explaining other aspects of the present continuous tense, such as usage, form sentence structure, etc.
  4. Demonstrate Examples: To reinforce learning further, use examples to demonstrate when, where, why and how the present continuous tense should be used in day-to-day life situations. Use simple sentences such as “He is eating breakfast now” or “She is watching TV”. You can even involve your child in role-play activities to make learning fun and engaging!
  5. Provide Practice Exercises: After introducing basic concepts, provide practice exercises so your child can apply what they have learned in real-life scenarios while making mistakes and learning from them through self-correction or feedback from you (or both!). Simple exercises like matching sentences with pictures or completing gaps will help assess understanding levels while reinforcing language skills simultaneously!

Lesson Plan: Teaching Children the Present Continuous Tense

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will be able to understand and correctly use the present continuous tense in sentences.
  • Students will be able to differentiate between present continuous and other tenses.

Introduction:

  • Start by asking the students if they have heard of the present continuous tense.
  • Briefly explain to the students that the present continuous tense describes actions happening right now or in a current period.
  • Show constant tense examples, such as ‘I am riding my bike now’ and ‘She is singing a song.’
  • Ask the students to think of examples of the present continuous tense themselves.

Main Teaching Points:

  • Explain to the students that the present continuous tense is formed by using the verb ‘to be (am, is, are) and adding ‘-ing’ to the base verb
  • Give examples of the present continuous tense in action, such as “I am writing a sentence right now” and “She is running around the park.”
  • Show the students some sentences in the present tense and compare them to the present continuous tense. For example, “I play soccer” compared to “I am playing soccer.”
  • Ask the students to create their present continuous sentences using subjects and verbs they are familiar with
  • To explore the negative form of the tense, explain how the word ‘not’ can be added after the helping verb “am, is or are.”
  • Provide the students with additional practice exercises like a gap fill or sentence completion and encourage them to practice and use sentence tense.

Reflection:

  • Ask the students if they feel they better understand the present continuous tense.
  • Ask them what they found difficult or easy about the lesson.
  • Ask if they have any questions or if there is anything they want to go over again.

Key Questions:

  • What is the present continuous tense, and how is it formed?
  • When do we use the present continuous tense?
  • How is the present constant tense different from the present tense?
  • What is the negative form of the present continuous tense?
  • Can you give me an example of a current continuous tense sentence?

FAQ: Present Continuous Tense

Q: What is the present continuous tense?

A: The present continuous tense is a verb tense used to describe an action in progress when speaking or for a limited period around the moment. It is also known as the present progressive tense. In English, it is formed using the present tense of the verb to be (am, is, are) and the present participle (verb + ing).

Q: When should I use the present continuous tense?

A: The present continuous tense describes an action in progress at the moment of speaking or for a limited period around the moment of speaking. It can also explain temporary situations or actions that may change soon, as well as planned or arranged events or activities in the future.

Q: How is the present continuous tense different from the present simple tense?

A: The present continuous tense describes actions happening when speaking or for a limited period around the moment, while the present simple tense describes habitual or permanent actions. The present continuous tense is also used to describe plans or arrangements, while the present simple tense is not.

Q: How do you form the present continuous tense?

A: The present continuous tense is formed using the present tense of the verb to be (am, is, are) and the present participle (verb + ing). For example, “I am studying for my exam” or “She is drinking a cup of tea.”

Q: Can the present continuous tense be used in negative and interrogative sentences?

A: The present continuous tense can be used in negative and interrogative (question) sentences. The word ‘not’ is added after the auxiliary verb ‘be’ to form negative sentences. For example, “I am not watching TV.” The auxiliary verb ‘be’ is placed before the subject to form interrogative sentences. For example, “Is she playing soccer?”

2 thoughts on “What Is The Present Continuous Tense?”

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