Grammar Intermediate | Present Continuous


What is this episode about?

Learn about the present continuous from the Grammar Intermediate series on English Plus Podcast. Learn about the main uses of the present continuous and how you can form it.

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I am using an automatic transcript service as it is not possible for me to do it on my own and I cannot afford human transcription at the moment. The service claims to have about 95% accuracy, which means there will still be some mistakes, so my apologies for having a less than perfect transcript, but I hope I can afford human transcription soon and I will solve this problem. However, the service is pretty good, and the transcript is almost perfect.


Welcome to a new episode from English plus podcast. Today’s episode is about grammar and we’re going to learn about the present continuous. Grammar is going to be so special in this new year program, because I’m going to divide grammar into three different levels. This is intermediate grammar. And we will have, starting from next week, grammar beginner and grammar advanced.

[00:00:32] So you can pick and choose the level you think that is most relevant to you. And as you’ve noticed, I’m renumbering the episodes. So you can see that this is grammar intermediate one, and next week we will have grammar intermediate two, et cetera. And the same goes for the others, because I have decided to start a series of each topic we’re talking about in English plus podcast.

[00:00:56] So we’re studying grammar intermediate from the very first beginning and we will go all the way to cover the most important topics in grammar in a logical order that will help you learn grammar in a better way, rather than pick and choose topics along the way. But now without further ado, Let’s start right away with our lesson, with our very first lesson in grammar intermediate one.

[00:01:19] And that is the present continuous. Now the present continuous is one of the most commonly used tenses in English. For example, if we see somebody in his car or her car, we can say that he or she is driving to work. Let’s say, for example, we’re talking about Sarah. Sarah is in her car. She is on her way to work.

[00:01:45] So she is driving to work. She is driving here. We have a couple of things we need to notice. The first thing is the meaning. What do we mean by she is driving to work. If we are looking at Sarah right now, remember she is in her car and she is on her way to work. So these things are happening right now.

[00:02:09] We’re actually looking at her. So she’s driving to work. We are talking about something that is happening right now at the time of speaking. And of course the action is not finished yet. That is the most common use of the present continuous. But of course that’s not everything. We will talk about a couple of more uses, but before we can do that, let’s take a look.

[00:02:34] At how we form the present continuous. Now, if you’ve noticed, we said Sarah is driving. So here with the present continuous, the good news is that the verb that has the meaning in this case, it’s drive always comes with ING. So in this case, it’s driving. If you take another verb, it’s working, doing, taking, giving, et cetera.

[00:03:00] So the main verb, the verb that has the real meaning in the sentence is always in ING, but to help that happen, we need verb to be in the present, which is obviously M is R so if it is, I, we say I am driving. If it is he, she, or it, he is driving or she is driving. And if we were talking about we, you and they, we need to put our, like, when we say you are doing this, they are doing that, et cetera.

[00:03:35] So these two things are the basic things we need to know about the present continuous, but now let’s take a look at some more examples and we will understand that it is not always about things that are happening at the moment of speaking or at the time of speaking, it may be a little bit different, but something doesn’t change.

[00:03:57] Now we will see, for example, if you say that I am doing something, that means you started doing this thing and you haven’t finished yet, you are in the middle of doing it. That’s the present continuous. Right? For example, if we say, please don’t make so much noise. I’m trying to work. I’m trying to work. I’m doing that right now.

[00:04:18] I’m trying right now. And you’re kind of bothering me with the noise. So I’m doing something I’m in the middle of doing something. And the most important thing that I haven’t finished yet. So here we don’t say I try to work. It’s not in general, as we will learn later, when we talk about the present simple, I’m talking about something I’m doing right now.

[00:04:39] Let’s see another example. For example, you ask about Mark where’s Mark, and another person says he’s having a shower. Not, he has a shower. We’re not talking about what Mark does every morning. We’re talking about what Mark is doing right now. He’s having a shower or sometimes you may walk into a place and you go like, what’s all that noise what’s going on.

[00:05:05] What’s going on right now because I can still hear the noise and I don’t know what’s going on or what’s happening. All of these examples are in the present continuous, but sometimes the action is not happening at the time of speaking. Not exactly at the time of speaking, for example. Let’s imagine Steve is talking to a friend on the phone, and while he’s talking to his friend on the phone, he says, I’m reading a really good book at the moment.

[00:05:37] It’s about a man who, et cetera. If you look at this. Nope. What is Steve doing right now at this very moment? Well, actually he’s talking to a friend on the phone. That is the action that is happening at the moment. But what did he say on the phone? What is he saying now? He says I’m reading a really good book at the moment.

[00:06:00] Well, is Steve a liar because he’s not reading a book right now. I’ve just seen him. He is talking on the phone. He’s talking to his friend on the phone. So what’s the deal here? Is it that he is lying or is it that it is possible to use the present continuous when we want to talk about things that started, but has not finished yet.

[00:06:27] So here, what Steve is trying to say, that this action of reading the book started. But hasn’t finished yet. He’s actually in the middle of reading the book, but he is not reading it at the very moment. So here, when you say, for example, I’m studying Spanish, maybe you’re studying Spanish at this very moment.

[00:06:51] Maybe not. Maybe right now you’re drinking a cup of coffee, but you’re still studying Spanish. It is something that started and hasn’t finished yet. And during the middle of doing it. The important thing to think about when you talk about the present, continuous is not always thinking about the things that are happening right now.

[00:07:13] We can also use it to talk about the things that are happening around now, things that started, but haven’t finished yet. Let’s take a look at a couple of more examples talking about the very same thing. Kate wants to work in Italy. So she’s learning Italian. So as we just said about learning Spanish, perhaps she’s not learning Italian at the time of speaking, but she is learning Italian.

[00:07:38] It is something that she started doing, but she hasn’t finished yet. Or we can say some friends of mine are building their own house. They hope to finish it next summer. They’re building their own house, but maybe not right now. Maybe now they’re sleeping. Maybe now they’re taking a shower. Maybe now they’re having lunch, et cetera, at the moment of speaking.

[00:08:01] But around now they are building their own house. It started and it will finish sometime in the future. But now we’re in the middle of this action, even if it’s not happening at this very moment. The thing that you notice that when we use the present continuous, we’re talking about things that are happening at the moment of speaking, or we are talking about things that are happening around the moment of speaking, but in both cases, we’re talking about.

[00:08:32] Temporary actions. Now here, when we say I’m reading a book, when we talked about Steve, well, this thing is going to finish. It’s not going to last forever. And Steve is not talking about his love of reading books. We will learn about that when we talk about the present simple, that is another case he’s talking about this specific book he’s reading.

[00:08:55] And this thing is going to end sometime. And even when we talk about Kate who is learning Italian, that’s also a temporary thing. You’re not going to learn Italian for the rest of your life, unless you’re a big fan of Italian, but in general, you’re learning Italian. Yes, you started at some time in the past.

[00:09:14] It may take a couple of years. It may take 10 years, but it’s going to end. It’s a temporary action. And the same for some friends of mine are building their own house. They hope to finish it next summer. You’re building your house. Yeah, of course you started it. You’re going to finish it next summer. At least.

[00:09:33] That’s what you hope. But it is a temporary thing it’s going to end. And that is something that will help you a lot. If you understand the relationship between the continuous, the present continuous in our case here and the temporary, that will help you a lot to understand the real meaning of the continuous.

[00:09:54] When we talk about continuous, we’re talking about. Temporary, but of course for now, what we need to understand things that are happening at the time of speaking or around the time of speaking, you might throw the word temporary to those as well. And now coming back to the examples, when people say that Danny is recording a new episode at the moment or right now or now, but as we said, it’s not always right now or at the moment of speaking, so we can use a couple of other words.

[00:10:27] With the present continuous like today, this week, this year, it’s cetera. We’re talking about periods around now. So today, this week, and this year, these are periods around now. Not at the moment of speaking, not right now, but around now, for example, you may say you’re working hard today. We’re working hard today.

[00:10:50] We use the present continuous because I’m talking about this action that is happening today. Maybe not at the moment, maybe now we’re taking a coffee break, we’re drinking coffee, but I’m saying that you’re working very hard today or the company I work for. Isn’t doing well this year. So here, we’re talking about.

[00:11:11] Something that is happening around now this year. So it is something that you can use as well, because as we said, it’s not only now or at the moment of speaking, it could be around now. Now, one last thing before we finish today’s episode, we can use the present continuous. When we talk about a change that has started to happen, and we often use certain verbs for that, we often use the verbs getting, becoming, starting beginning, changing, improving, increasing, rising, falling, and growing.

[00:11:48] For example, we say, is your English getting better? We use getting in this case, we use get, obviously with ING, is your English getting better? We’re talking about a change that has started to happen in this case. We don’t say, does your English get better? It’s not a general thing. We’re talking about a change and it is not something that applies to all times.

[00:12:11] We’re talking about something that’s happening right now or around now. And I’m asking whether your English is getting better or not. Or we can say, for example, the population of the world is increasing very fast, not increases because that is something that is changing and it is still changing. It is still increasing.

[00:12:34] Or we say at first I didn’t like my job. But I’m starting to enjoy it now. So I’m starting to enjoy it. Now. It is happening. My feeling is changing about the job. I didn’t like it at first and now I’m starting. I don’t enjoy it yet. I’m starting to enjoy it so we can use the present continuous to talk about a change that has started to happen.

[00:13:00] And remember these verbs that I told you about because these verbs are commonly used. When we want to talk about change with the present continuous, that’ll be all for today. I hope you learned a couple of useful things about the present continuous. And remember, you can find the transcript of this episode in the link.

[00:13:18] I will leave in the description and for premium members, you can find the worksheet on Patrion as well. What do you get to practice the things we talked about and check your answers in the answer key that I provide as well. If you’d like to get a PDF worksheet for every episode, we publish English plus become our patron on Patrion, and you will have access to all these PDF worksheets with their answer keys as well.

[00:13:44] That being said, I would like to thank you very much for listening to another episode from English plus podcasts. And I will see you next time.

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