Continuous Tense (1)

You have learned that the -ing form of a verb (properly called the present particple) can be used as an adjective.

In this lesson you will learn that the -ing form of a verb can also be used to form the continuous tense of a verb.

In this sentence, "is swimming" should be thought of as one big verb. Specifically, it's the continuous tense of the verb "to swim". It means that the person is still swimming at this moment.

Likewise, "He was swimming" means that he was continuing to swim at some point in the past.

The continuous tense is always formed by a two-word combination. The first word is a helping word, and the helping word is always a form of the verb "to be", such as:

The second word is the present particple form of the verb (the -ing form).

  Continuous Tense Verb
Subject Helping Word
("to be")
Present Partiple
(-ing form)
Enrique is swimming.
Kirk was working.
Shannon has been cooking.
They were shouting.
We are singing.


Instructions for the Quiz

Identify the underlined word(s):

Example 1:

I read an entertaining book.

  • adjective
  • verb

Answer = A.

"Entertaining" is the present participle of the verb "to entertain".

In this sentence, "entertaining" is being used as an adjective that describes the book. Therefore, the answer is A (adjective).


The magician is entertaining the audience.

  • adjective
  • verb

Answer = B.

In this sentence, "entertaining" is part of a big, two-part verb: is entertaining. This two-part verb is the continuous tense of the verb "to entertain". Therefore, the answer is B (verb).