Skip to main content
Humanities LibreTexts

5.12: El presente progresivo

  • Page ID
    209171
    • Erica Brown, Alejandra Escudero, María Cristina Montoya, & Elizabeth Small
    • SUNY Oneonta via OER SUNY
    \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \) \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)\(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)\(\newcommand{\AA}{\unicode[.8,0]{x212B}}\)

    Objetivos

    • Recognize correct forms of the present progressive

    The present progressive (or continuous) is a compound construction of two verbal forms that cannot be separated by any other word: the auxiliary verb + the gerund. The progressive may be used in different tenses by changing the conjugation of the verb estar (past, present or future) and leaving the gerund in its intact form. For now let’s focus on the present progressive:

    Subject Pronoun + estar (conjugated) + gerund

    sign pointing down stairs reads: "bajando"
    bajar = to go down

    What’s a gerund? In English, gerunds all end in -ing: reading, dancing, singing, etc. (For more on gerunds in English, see the entry on gerunds in the Guide to Writing.)

    In Spanish, the ending of the gerund depends on the kind of verb:

    • for -ar verbs: drop the “-ar” and add → -ando
    • for -er and -ir verbs: drop the “-er” or “-ir” and add → -iendo
    • Stem-changing -ir verbs (not -ar or -er verbs!) change their stem vowels as follows: o-u, e-i. Note: verbs that change from e-ie and e-i in the present tense both change e-i in the gerund form.
    • The gerund of the verb ir is irregular: yendo.
    Sign reads "sigan subiendo"
    sigan = keep, continue (plural imperative of “seguir”); subir = to go up

    Ejemplos:

    • -ar verb:
      • Tomar → tomando (taking)
      • Cantar → cantando (singing)
      • Comenzar → comenzando (starting) ¡OJO! Though this has a stem-change in the present it’s an -ar verb so its gerund is regular.
    • -er verbs:
      • Beber → bebiendo (drinking)
      • Volver → volviendo (returning)
      • ¡OJO! Though “volver” has a stem-change in the present, it’s an -er verb so its gerund is regular.
    • -ir verb:
      • Escribir → escribiendo (writing)
    • stem-changing -ir verbs:
      • Dormir → durmiendo (sleeping)
      • Preferir → prefiriendo (preferring)
      • Servir → sirviendo (serving)
      singular plural
    1a estoy escribiendo estamos escribiendo
    2a estás escribiendo estáis escribiendo
    3a está escribiendo están escribiendo

    Note: To form a negative sentence in the present progressive, place the no in front of the form of estar:

    • No estoy escribiendo (I am not writing).

    Remember that the present progressive is used to express an action in progress at the moment of expression. Note the differences in meaning:

    • Estudio español. (I study Spanish/I am studying Spanish. a general description of the situation over a period of time: you are taking Spanish as part of your studies this semester.)
    • Estoy estudiando español. (I am studying Spanish. an action in progress right now: you have your book out or a site open and you are actively studying a lesson or preparing right now.)

    Note also: Although in English, the present progressive tense can refer to events in the future (“We are going to the movies tonight”), in Spanish the present progressive always refers to ongoing action. For future actions, Spanish uses the present tense or the future tenses.

    • Vamos al cine este fin de semana. (We’re going to the movies this weekend.)

    Contributors and Attributions

    • Gramática: El presente progresivo. Authored by: SUNY Oneonta with Lumen Learning. Provided by: SUNY Oneonta. License: CC BY: Attribution
    • Bajando. Authored by: Rachel Zaccaro. License: CC BY: Attribution
    • Sigan subiendo. Authored by: Rachel Zaccaro. License: CC BY: Attribution

    This page titled 5.12: El presente progresivo is shared under a CC BY 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Erica Brown, Alejandra Escudero, María Cristina Montoya, & Elizabeth Small (OER SUNY) via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.