There are twelve tenses in English, of which, one is Present Continuous Tense aka Present Progressive Tense. This tense has got diverse practical uses which are discussed in this lesson.
Present Progressive can be employed in both present and future situations. This is mainly used with the following keywords or situations—‘Unfinished Present Actions, Temporary Situations, Temporary or New Habits, Irregular but Annoying Habits and Definite Future Arrangements.
Present Uses of Present Progressive Tense :
A. With Unfinished Present Actions (actions happening now) : Firstly, this Tense is used with actions those are happening just at this moment. Usually these actions last for a small period of time and continue while talking about them. Look at the examples below :
1. I am writing a post on Facebook on the outbreak of Dengue in Dhaka.
2. We are having dinner now. So I will call you back later. Ok
3. The government is now focusing on the control of dengue.
B. Used With Temporary Situations : It is also used with temporary situations when an action may or may not be happening at the time of speaking. See the sentences given below :
1. The country is going through dengue outbreak.
2. My younger brother is working at a firm until he finds a good job. (He might not be working just at this moment.)
3. My grandfather is reading a book written by Rabindranath Tagore. (That does not necessarily mean that he’s doing it just now).
Here to Note : For permanent situations, we use Simple Present Tense. Look at the example :
1. My father works for a high school based in Riyad. (means this job a permanent one).
2. My mother is working for a housing company based in Tokyo. (means this is not her permanent work. She is doing it just for the moment. If she finds a good one, then she will leave the job)
C. With Temporary Or New Habits : We use this Tense with temporary or new habits. In this case, we often use some expressions like these days, at the moment with the sentences. Note the following examples :
1. My daughter is doing brush three times these days. (it is a new habit practiced by her for some days now)
2. I am eating a lot at breakfast these days.
3. One of my colleagues is drawing cigarettes nowadays. (Means he didn’t use to draw cigarettes before but for the last few days he is doing so)
4. Albert is arriving late at office these days. He may be going through some sleep disorders).
Attention : For normal or regular habits that are happening for a long time, we use Simple Present Tense).
D. With Irregular and or Annoying Habits : Present Continuous Tense has another use which is with habits that are irregular but occur frequently. We use this Tense this way to deal with annoying habits. Note that in such cases we usually use adverbs like ever, always, forever or constantly. Look at the sentences :
1. My father is always losing home keys. (an annoying action or habit done by him)
2. You are constantly missing the deadline to finish the project.
3. Mr. Frost, you are constantly lying to the boss. One day you would be caught red handed.
Future Uses of Present Continuous Tense :
A. For Fixed Future Plans or Arrangements : We also use this tense with certain future plans that are scheduled to take place at a set date in the future. In this case, there will be a future time word like tomorrow, next month, the next Friday, next weekend etc. attached to the sentence. Look at the examples below :
1. I am repaying your loan next Friday.
2. We are going to have an annual picnic next weekend.
3. Our flight is leaving at 5 post afternoon.
4. Health Minister postponed the scheduled press conference due to unavoidable circumstances. But he has rescheduled it and is now going to hold it next Sunday at the Secretariat.
Final Words : The uses of Present Continuous or Progressive Tense are very confusing and complex but easy depending on level of practice . So only with practice, one can have a command over it. Do practice as much as possible. Good luck with your learning of English!