The present progressive tense combines the present indicative of the verb estar (to be) with the present participle of another verb to indicate an action in progress. The present progressive tells what a person "is doing" right now.

  • Estoy hablando con mi madre. (I am speaking with my mother (right now).)
  • Los niños están jugando en el patio. (The children are playing in the yard (right now).)
  • ¿Estás yendo a la tienda ahora? (Are you going to the store now?)

The present participle never changes according to the tense. The progressive tense can be used in any time reference simply by changing the tense of estar, creating the present progressive, preterite progressive, the imperfect progressive, the future progressive, etc. This article explains how to form and when to use the present progressive tense.

Present Progressive Forms

The present progressive is a verb phrase consisting of both estar (the "is" part which indicates the tense) and the present participle (the "-ing" part which indicates what the action is). To form the present progressive, conjugate estar to the present indicative tense and add the present participle form of the verb that the person is actually doing.

Present Progressive Formula: estarpresent participle (verb stem + -ando for -ar verbs/-iendo for -er and -ir verbs)

Estoy hablando I am speaking Estamos hablando We are speaking
Estás hablando You are speaking Estáis hablando You (all) are speaking
Está hablando You (formal) are speaking
He/she is speaking
Están hablando You (all, formal) are speaking
They are speaking

Present Progressive Uses

Single Current Actions

Simply, what a person is doing right now, and action they are currently participating in.

  • 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 (right now).)
  • Están durmiendo en el dormitorio pequeño. (They are sleeping in the small bedroom (right now).)

In English and Spanish, this is usually expressed using the present progressive, but it is possible to use the present tense in Spanish as well.

  • ¿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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