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.

Resources for further reading:

Por ejemplo (for example):

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Estoy caminando.

I am walking.

Sara está viajando.

Sarah is travelling.

Nosotros estamos corriendo.

We are running.

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:

Estoy comprando unos calcetínes.

I am buying some socks.

Estamos bebiendo la cerveza.

We are drinking the beer.

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:

Verb From e to i
venir viniendo
sentir sintiendo
decir diciendo
Verb From o to u
dormir durmiendo
morir muriendo

Por ejemplo:

Me estoy sintiendo triste.

I am feeling sad.

Tú estás durmiendo en la cama.

You are sleeping on the bed.

Want to learn more about Spanish Tenses? Take a look at these lessons:

See you soon! ¡Hasta pronto!

Mauricio Evlampieff: Rocket Spanish

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