Present Continuous for Habits

The present continuous tense can be a little confusing because it has several different uses. In this video we are going to look how we can use the present continuous tense to say that something happens more frequently than expected or more frequently than normal.


In the first video of this series we looked at the main use of The Present Continuous tense, which is to talk about an action that is in progress at the time of speaking. Here is an example from that video:

  • I am taking a break.

The action of taking a break is happening now, it is in progress NOW and will CONTINUE for some time into the future. That is why is it call the Present Continuous.

In the second video we looked at how we can use the present continuous for future arrangements:

  • I am having dinner with a friend tomorrow.

Present continuous for habits

Now we are going to look at another unusual use of the Present Continuous tense which is to say that something happens more frequently that normal. Here is an example:

  • I am always losing my glasses.

When we use this we are normally expressing frustration about a situation or person because they do something more than normal. We are using the present continuous for habits.

To form a sentence that uses the present continuous for habits in this way, we still need the auxiliary verb ‘to be’ in the correct form am, is or are, then the main verb in the ‘ing’ form.
But we also need the word ‘always’ in between the auxiliary verb and the main verb.
The meaning here is again bit confusing because in this context the word always does not mean, all the time, like it normally does. Here it is expressing that something happens more than normal.

  • Here are some more examples.
  • You’re always buying sweets.
  • He’s always forgetting things.
  • She’s always eating something.
  • It’s always raining in Scotland.
  • They’re always laughing at me.

So in this video we have looked at how we can use the present continuous for habits to talk about things that happen more frequently than normal.