What is the present continuous tense?

The present continuous is used for things happening (and continuing to happen) now.

The present continuous is also sometimes used for future plans, as it is easier than the future tense (“I am going to school tomorrow” vs. “I am going to go to school tomorrow”).

How to make the present continuous tense

The present continuos tense is made by:
subject + be + …ing verb

‘Be’ changes to match the subject.

SubjectBe…ing verb
Iam…ing
youare…ing
heis…ing
sheis…ing
itis…ing
weare…ing
theyare…ing

Examples of the present continuous tense

I am going to school.It is raining.
You are eating breakfast.We are taking the train.
Alan is running in the playground. (Alan = he)George and Russell are playing basketball. (George and Russell = they)
Shakira is fighting with her parents. (Shakira = she)

Comparing the present tense and the present continuous tense

The present tense is for things that are true, schedules, or opinions.
The present continuous tense is for things happening now, or as a quick way to say future plans.

Present tensePresent continuous tense
I am Mike. (true)Mike is talking to Rob. (happening now)
The sky is blue. (true)It is snowing. (happening now)
She is on the train. (true) She is taking the train to Washington. (happening now or future plan)
We have class tomorrow. (schedule) We are going to class tomorrow. (future plan)
They sell rubbish. (true / opinion) They are selling fake shoes. (happening now).