The Present continuous tense is made up of the present tense of the auxiliary verb to be and the present participle. (i.e. to be + the infinitive + ing): I am singing (am + sing +ing = am singing). You are reading. (are + read + ing = are reading).
The present continuous tense is used to express:
I) an on-going activity (at the present/speaking time):
- Johnson is reading.
- Obi and Ada are playing.
II) an event that must take place in future:
- The Okonkwos are parking out from Nkanu street next Saturday.
III) a temporary situation:
- We are staying for ten days.
- She is not leaving home yet.
IV) a non-exclamatory progressive sentence terminating with here or there:
- She is coming here.
- We are going there.
V) a frequently repeated action when it is used with always:
- She is always complaining.
NOTE: Some verbs do not appear in the continuous form:
The following are some examples of verbs that are not normally used in the continuous form:
- verbs of emotion (e.g. love, hate, like, dislike, care, adore, wish, desire).
- verbs that relate to the five senses (e.g. see, hear, feel, smell, taste).
- verbs that relate to ownership of things (e.g. own, possess, belong).
- verbs that relate to thinking (e.g. think, understand, suppose, recollect, recall, know, realize, remember).
- verbs that relate to appearance (e.g. seem, signify appear, symbolise).
When some of the preceding “non-progressive” verbs are used in a special sense, they appear in the progressive form.
NOTE: Do not confuse gerunds with the continuous form of verbs. All verbs used as gerunds bear -ing ending, irrespective of whether they are used in the continuous form or not. As gerunds, they can come before verbs or after verbs and prepositions.