Understanding Present Progressive tense: Formation, Usage, and Signal Words

The Present Progressive tense (also called the Present Continuous tense) is used to talk about actions that are happening at that moment or are temporal. Unlike the Simple Present, the Present Progressive tense is formed by using the form "to be" and the verb phrase.

We'll show you how to form the Present Progressive tense, when to use it, and give you some sample sentences and signal words that will help you quickly understand the Present Progressive tense.

The formation of the Present Progressive tense

To form the present progressive tense, you must conjugate the verb "to be" in the simple present (am, is, are) and form the following verb in the gerund (gerund form). You get the gerund of a verb by ending the verb with the ending -ing.

To get a better understanding, take a look at the following example sentences in the present progressive. By writing some sentences in the present progressive yourself, you will deepen your knowledge and become more confident in forming this tense.

The use of the Present Progressive tense

In English, if you want to express that something is happening right now, you must use the present progressive tense. In this way, you can express that an action, state, or state of affairs in the present is temporary and not permanent.

In addition, you can use the present progressive tense to show that an action or state is planned and will take place in the near future. It's best to look at the following signal words along with sample sentences to get a better feel for using the Present Progressive tense.

Example sentences for the Present progressive tense



To go

I am going to the gym.

To walk

You are walking to the park.

To eat

Frank is eating his lunch.

To cook

They are cooking dinner.

To read

We are reading an exciting book.

To present

Paul is presenting his project in the meeting.

To throw

Laura is throwing the ball for her dog.

To clean

I am cleaning my kitchen.

To write

They are writing their exam.

Signal words for the Present progressive tense

Signal word



I am studying English now.

At the moment

He is playing video games at the moment.


They are currently working on a new project.

Right now

She is watching a movie right now.

Look!, Listen!

Look! He is dancing in the street.


I am meeting my friend next week.


She is soon graduating from university.


They are leaving for vacation tomorrow.


We are staying home tonight.

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