Present Progressive

Presente progresivo

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.

No estamos mirando la televisión.   We’re not watching television.
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?

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
Iré
Voy a ir
} al banco más tarde.   I’m going to the bank later.
Sale
Saldrá
Va a salir
} mañana.   He’s leaving tomorrow. 

The Spanish present progressive is usually formed with the present tense of estar + gerund of the action verb.

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:

andar to be (in the process of) doing something
Anda buscando sus llaves.   He’s looking for his keys.
 
ir to start/be gradually doing something
Voy comprendiendo la verdad.   I’m starting to understand the truth.
 
llevar to have been doing something (English present perfect progressive)
Llevo dos años trabajando aquí.   I’ve been working here for two years.
 
seguir to go on/keep/continue doing something
Sigue lloviendo.   It’s still raining.
 
venir to have been doing something (English present perfect progressive)
Es lo que vengo diciendo.   That’s what I’ve been saying.

Spanish quiz Present Progressive Quiz

Think you’ve got it? Test yourself on the Spanish present progressive:

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