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The Spanish present progressive, or present continuous, is very similar to its English counterpart (to be + -ing). In both languages, the present progressive expresses an in-progress action, with an emphasis on its current, temporary aspect.
|Estoy trabajando; no puedo salir.||I’m working; I can’t go out.|
|¿Por qué no estás haciendo caso del profesor?||Why aren’t you paying attention to the teacher?|
|No estamos mirando la televisión.||We’re not watching television.|
In English, the present progressive can also be used for something that will happen in the future. Not so in Spanish. This use of the English present progressive is expressed in Spanish with the simple present, future, or near future.
Voy a ir
|} al banco más tarde.||I’m going to the bank later.|
Va a salir
|} mañana.||He’s leaving tomorrow.|
|Estoy leyendo||I am reading|
|Estás hablando||You are speaking|
|Está llorando||He is crying|
There are five other verbs which can replace estar and add a different nuance to the present progressive.
1) andar – to be (in the process of) doing something
|Anda buscando sus llaves.||He’s looking for his keys.|
2) ir – to start doing, to be gradually doing something
|Voy comprendiendo la verdad.||I’m starting to understand the truth.|
|Llevo dos años trabajando aquí.||I’ve been working here for two years.|
4) seguir – to go on/keep/continue doing something
|Sigue lloviendo.||It’s still raining.|
5) venir – to have been doing something (English present perfect progressive)
|Es lo que vengo diciendo.||That’s what I’ve been saying.|
Present Progressive Quizzes
Think you’ve got it? Test yourself on the Spanish present progressive:
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