Present Continuous Usage 1: Action at the moment of speaking

Present Continuous is used when an action takes place in the present at the moment of speaking. Another way to explain:

We use Present Continuous when we want to say that an action is or isn’t happening right now.

Look, he is coming here!

Hey, she is not reading!

It’s not quite a scientific definition, but it will do just to understand this tense.

First of all, what is moment of speaking?

Moment of speaking in the present

Time axis 1. Pay attention to the red circle that says “right now.”

We can understand “at the moment of speaking” (moment of speech) as “right now” in the present:

Moment of speaking can be expressed with these words:

now, at this very moment, at this time, right now (note: all these examples in other contexts may not necessarily mean moment of speaking. But for the purpose of this lesson, we are not talking about it)

At this very moment, thousands of people are watching the match!

Moment of speaking expressed by another action

While we are talking here, thousands of people are watching this match!

We can explain “moment of speaking” if we use an example. Imagine you are talking with your friend. Your mom is cooking dinner. You say:

Please stay with us, my mom is cooking dinner!

When you are physically saying it, at this very moment of your speaking, your mom is really cooking. That is why we call it “moment of speaking”, and we use Present Continuous (is cooking), if the action is happening at the moment of speaking.

So, Present Continuous is used for actions that are happening at the moment of speaking and in the present.

Also on Present Continuous:

Back to: Present Continuous Tense, also Present Progressive

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