Spanish Present Progressive Tense

Understanding the Present Progressive

The term present progressive is a fancy way of describing the verb tense that emphasizes that an action is currently taking place as we speak. It is characterized by the verb “to be,” followed by a second verb that ends with –ing (the present participle). For example:

I am studying.
You are running.

In Spanish, the present progressive is constructed in a similar way. Use the “to be” verb estar. Instead of ending the present participle with –ing­, however, you’ll end it with –ando­ or –iendo.

Por ejemplo:

Be careful, though! In English you can also use the present participle in this way:

We are going fishing.

In this case, the verb “to be” indicates a future occurrence, that of fishing. You cannot use the present participle in this case in Spanish. Rather, you must use an infinitive. In other words:

DO NOT say “Vamos pescando.” DO say, “Vamos a pescar.”

The Present Participles of Regular Verbs

-ar verbs

p. participle

er verbs

- p.participle

-ir verbs

p.participle

comprar

comprando

correr

corriendo

vivir

viviendo

esperar

esperando

tener

teniendo

pedir

pidiendo

enseñar

enseñando

beber

bebiendo

abrir

abriendo

estudiar

estudiando

comer

comiendo

salir

saliendo

The general rules for creating the present participle of regular verbs are:

1. –ar verbs will end in –ando.
2. –er verbs and –ir verbs will both end in –iendo.

The present participles never change … no matter which subject pronoun is used.

Por ejemplo:

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Estoy comprando unos calcetínes.
I am buying some socks.
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Estamos bebiendo la cerveza.
We are drinking the beer.
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Tú estás viviendo en Argentina.
You are living in Argentina.

Irregular Stem Changing Verbs

Note the following irregular verbs, which make a stem change in the present participle form:

From e to i

 

From o to u

 

venir

viniendo

dormir

durmiendo

sentir

sintiendo

morir

muriendo

decir

diciendo

   

Por ejemplo:

In the next section we’ll work on Talking about what you know: SABER and CONOCER.

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