Spanish Present Progressive Forms

Quick Answer

The Spanish present progressive tense, also called the present continuous tense, tells what someone or something is doing right now.

Present Progressive Formula

estar + present participle (Example: Estoy escribiendo.)

Present participle =

  • verb stem + -ando for -ar verbs (Example: hablando)
  • verb stem + -iendo/-yendo for -er/-ir verbs (Examples: escribiendo, leyendo, comiendo)

Learn more about regular and irregular present participles here!

Estoy hablando con mi madre.
I am speaking to my mother.
Los niños están comiendo en el patio.
The children are eating in the yard.
El abuelo está durmiendo en la sala.
Grandpa is sleeping in the living room.

Present Progressive Forms

The present progressive is a verb phrase consisting of both estar (the be part of the phrase, which indicates the tense) and the present participle (the -ing part of the phrase, which indicates that the action is ongoing). To form the present progressive, conjugate estar in the present indicative tense and add the present participle form of the verb that describes what the subject is doing.

Here's an example with hablar  (to speak).

(Yo) estoy hablando.
I am speaking.
(Tú) estás hablando.
You are speaking.
(Él/Ella) está hablando
He/she is speaking.
(Usted) está hablando
You (formal) are speaking
(Nosotros) estamos hablando.
We are speaking.
(Vosotros) estáis hablando.
You (all) are speaking.
(Ustedes) están hablando.
You (all) are speaking.
(Ellos/Ellas) están hablando.
They are speaking.

Present Progressive and Present Simple

In both English and Spanish, the present progressive is used to talk about what a subject is doing right now,

Está escribiendo un ensayo para su clase de español.
He is writing an essay for his Spanish class.
Estamos cocinando la cena.
We are cooking dinner.
Están durmiendo en el dormitorio pequeño.
They are sleeping in the small bedroom.

However, it is also possible to use the simple present to talk about what a subject is doing right now in Spanish.

¿Qué haces?
What are you doing?
Limpio la cocina.
I'm cleaning the kitchen.
¿Cómo estás?
How are you doing?
Estoy bien, gracias.
I'm doing well, thank you.

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