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Unit 5.1

Present Continuous – Negative


The present continuous (or progressive) is the tense used to talk about situations that are going on around the moment of speaking (before, during and after the moment of speaking).

When expressed in its negative form, the verb denies that something is happening now.

The present continuous in negative form of the verb has this structure:
Subject + to be + not + [verb + -ing].

  • Short form of the negative form is the same as the short form of to be: “I’m not – you’re not/you aren’t – he’s not/he isn’t…”
I am not working
You are not working
He is not working
She is not working
It is not working
We are not working
You are not working
They are not working

For the exceptions see affirmative form of present continuous.

  1. The moment of speaking
    • I’m not eating an apple.
    • She isn’t watching TV at the moment.
    • We aren’t speaking.
  2. Temporary actions
    • I’m not looking for a new shirt.
    • Paul isn’t working hard to buy new shoes.
    • We aren’t staying in this apartment for 3 weeks.
  3. Planned actions
    • I’m not leaving early tonight.
    • He isn’t going to the cinema on Friday evening.
    • We aren’t going on holiday at the end of this month.
  4. Changes and tendencies
    • I’m not getting happier and happier.
    • The world isn’t getting warmer.
    • We aren’t becoming better at volleyball.
  5. Consistency of the events
    • I’m not always watching the news.
    • He isn’t talking consistently.
    • They are not always having lunch at 14:00.

We use the present continuous to talk about:

  1. Actions happening at the moment of speaking;
  2. Temporary actions (that will finish in the future);
  3. Actions that are planned for the future;
  4. Changes and tendencies;
  5. Consistency of the events.

The present continuous is used to talk about situations that are going on around the moment of speaking. When used in its negative form, something that is happening now is denied.

The present continuous in its negative form has this structure:
Subject + to be + not + [verb + -ing].

For example:
—”You aren’t eating.” = In this case we use the present continuous because we need to talk about an action that does not take place while talking, in that moment.
♦ “You don’t eat.” = In this case we use the present simple because we need to talk about an action that doesn’t happen repeatedly or always in the present.

Let’s revise this content within the [Form] section. Take a look at the [Example] section that shows its use within a context.


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