The Present Continuous
§ 11. The Present Continuous is an analytical form which is built up by means of the auxiliary verb to be in the Present Indefinite and the ing-form of the notional verb (e.g. I am working. He is working, etc.). The same auxiliary is used in the interrogative and the negative form (e.g. Are you working? Is he working? We are not working. He is not working, etc.). In spoken English the contracted forms I’т, he’s and we’re should be used in affirmative sentences and isn’t and aren’t in negative sentences.
The ing-form, is built up by adding the suffix -ing to the stem of the verb (e.g. speak — speaking).
In writing the following spelling rules should be observed:
a) A mute -e at the end of the verb is dropped before the suffix -ing (e.g. close — closing, make — making).
b) A final consonant is doubled if it is preceded by a short stressed vowel or if a verb ends in a stressed -er (-ur) (e.g. cut — cutting, begin — beginning, prefer — preferring, occur — occurring),
c) A final -I is always doubled in British English (e.g. travel — travelling, quarrel — quarrelling).
d) A final -y is preserved no matter what sound it is preceded by (e.g. study — studying, stay — staying).
e) A final ie changes into -y (e.g. tie — tying, lie — lying).
§ 12. The Present Continuous is used with dynamic verbs in the following cases:
1) To express an action going on at the present moment, i.e. the moment of speaking.
The precise time limits of the action are not known, its beginning and its end are not specified. The indication of time is not necessary in this case though occasionally such adverbial modifiers as now and at present are found.
e.g. «Do you know where Philip is?» «I expect he is talking to Mother.»
I asked: «Is anything new happening?»
«Oh, hullo,» he said. «Do you want to see me?» «No, thanks. I’m looking for my father.»
Tears flowed slowly down her cheeks. «What are you crying for?»
«Oh, mummy! The eggs are burning! The coffee is boiling over!
Where is the large tray? Where do you keep things?» cried
2) To express an action going on at the present period. In this case the precise time limits of the action are not known either. Besides, the action may or may not be going on at the actual moment of speaking. As in the previous case, indications of time are not necessary here either.