How to Form the Present Progressive
The present progressive is generally formed using the verb estar, plus a present participle.
Present Progressive Formula
estar + present participle
Regular present participles are formed as follows:
- Present participle of -ar verbs = verb stem + -ando (Example: hablando)
- Present participle of -er and -ir verbs = verb stem + -iendo (Examples: escribiendo, comiendo)
Learn more about regular and irregular present participles here!
Check out these examples of the present progressive.
The present progressive is formed with the present tense of the verb estar (to be).
Here's an example showing the present progressive of the verb hablar(to speak). Only the estar part of the present progressive changes to match the subject. The present participle (hablando) does not change.
There are two options regarding the placement of direct object pronouns, indirect object pronouns, and reflexive pronouns with the present progressive. You can either place the pronoun in front of the conjugated form of estar or attach it to the end of the gerund (the verb ending in -iendo or ‐ando.)
Check out these examples:
When attaching a pronoun to the end of the gerund, an accent mark must be added on the antepenultimate (third from last) syllable.
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. However, it is also possible to use the simple present to talk about what a subject is doing right now in Spanish. Check out the pair of examples below; the first set uses the present simple, while the second uses the present progressive.