2 Uses for Continuous Tenses that English learners ALWAYS forget!

Many learners of English know that the continuous tense are used to talk about something which is continuing for some length of time.  Check out my diagram about when to use present simple and when to use present continuous here.

Here are 2 uses for continuous tenses which many learners of English are unaware of:

1. Temporary things

  1. Present Continuous

The present continuous is used to talk about temporary situations:

‘I am going to the gym 3 times per week to get fit for the summer!’ (I will finish after the summer)

‘I am writing a novel.’ (I will finish when I have completed the novel)

‘I am living in France at the moment’ (I will move out of France soon)

2. Past continuous

This is used to talk about temporary situations in the past, but you can also use past simple here:

‘I was working in France for 2 years before I moved to Germany’

‘I worked in France for 2 years before I moved to Germany’Plans 

2. Plans

  1. Present continuous

The present continuous is used to talk about future plans which are fixed.

‘I am meeting John in town later’

2. Past Continuous

The past continuous is used to talk about future plans from the point of view of the past. 

Sometimes it means that the plans changed:

‘I was meeting John at 8pm, but then the plans changed’

But it doesn’t have to mean that at all:

‘I had to run for the train because I was meeting John at 8pm.’


If you would like to have any any further example sentences, feel free to email me at [email protected], or message me on Skype at live:fluencyspace! Check out more useful grammar right here!


 David Cox

 Fluency Space

 Make the world your fluency space. Business English for career and life success

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