See also grammar rules below.
Positive statement: I am playing, you are playing, he is playing, we are playing, they are playing
Short forms: I'm playing, you're playing, he's playing, we're playing, they're playing
Negative statement: I am not sitting, you are not sitting, he is not sitting
Short forms: I'm not sitting, you aren't sitting (you're not...), he isn't sitting (he's not...)
Questions: Am I eating? Are you eating? Is he eating?
Negative questions: Am I not watching? Are you not watching? Is he not watching?
Short forms: Aren't you watching? Isn't he watching?
Negative questions normally express a surprise.
Isn't he working?
1. We use the present continuous tense to say that something is happening at the time of speaking. We often use it with time expressions such as now or at the moment.
I am doing housework at the moment.
You aren't listening to me now!
Look at him! What is he doing?
2. It is used for temporary activities that are true now, but not necessarily happening at the time of speaking. Time expressions such as today, this week or these days are typical of this use.
I am in London. I am learning English here.
She can't go out today. She is preparing for an exam.
You can't meet him this week. He is working in Bath.
3. We use the present simple for planned future arrangements. The time of the action must be given in the sentence (soon, tomorrow, on Monday, next week), otherwise it is not clear that we talk about future.
I am coming soon.
We are leaving on Monday.
She is starting next week.
4. With always the present simple tense expresses the idea that something happens too often and it annoys the speaker.
I am always forgetting my keys.
He is always smoking in the living room!
5. We do not normally use these groups of verbs (state verbs) in the continuous form:
A. Verbs of senses: feel, hear, see, smell, taste. On the other hand, look, watch or listen are action verbs and can be used in the continuous:
I can hear you. - I am listening to you.
Can you see the bird? - Are you looking at the bird?
B. Verbs of liking and disliking: like, love, hate, fear, detest, want, wish...
I like animals.
I hate snakes.
C. Verbs of mental states: agree, believe, forget, know, remember, suppose, think...
I agree with you.
I suppose you are right.
D. Verbs of permanent states: be, have, belong, contain, owe, own, possess...
This pen belongs to me.
I have a new pet.
E. Verbs of appearance: seem, appear, look, sound...
It seems that it will rain.
Your new haircut looks really good.
If some of these verbs are used in the present continuous tense, they have a different meaning. In such a case they become action verbs.
I think he is my best friend. (mental state)
I'm thinking of giving him a present. (mental activitiy)
He has a new bathroom. (possess)
He is having a bath. (take a bath)
I see what you mean. (know)
I am seeing a doctor. I am ill. (visit)
The flower smells beautiful. (scent)
The dog is smelling the sausage. (sniff)
This wine tastes sour. (It is sour.)
She is tasting the soup if it is warm enough.
All these materials are written for students and teachers of English as a foreign language.