Spanish Present Progressive – Conjugation and Use

Spanish Present Progressive

Welcome to our grammar lesson about the Spanish Present Progressive.

The Present Progressive or Present Continuous (“Presente Progresivo”, “Presente Continuo”) is a verb tense in Spanish. We use it to communicate what’s happening right now, at the moment. It is the equivalent of the English “I am eating… she is drinking… we are driving… etc”.

Conjugating verbs in Present Progressive is easy, with the formula “estar” + Gerundio.

In this lesson we will learn how to conjugate and use verbs in Spanish Present Progressive, providing example sentences. At the end you’ll find a Quiz and Exercises for practice.

1. Conjugation of verbs in Spanish Present Progressive

The formula to construct the Present Progressive consists of 2 words:

  • The first word is the verb “estar” conjugated in Present Tense for the proper person: “estoy, estás, está, estamos, estáis, están”.
  • The second word is the Gerundio (also called Present Participle) of the verb expressing the action. The Gerundio is the same for all persons.

Remember…

The Gerundio of regular verbs in -ar ends in -ando.
The Gerundio of regular verbs in -er and -ir ends in -iendo.

Some verbs have an irregular Gerundio with some irregularity in the stem. The most frequent ones are:

decir → diciendo
dormir → durmiendo
morir → muriendo
pedir → pidiendo
venir → viniendo
leer → leyendo
oír → oyendo
ir → yendo

Click here to learn all about the Gerundio, and more irregular Gerundios.


With our formula in mind, here is a table showing three verbs fully conjugated in Present Progressive. These particular verbs have a Regular Gerundio:

 HablarBeberPartir
yoestoy hablandoestoy bebiendoestoy partiendo
estás hablandoestás bebiendoestás partiendo
élestá hablandoestá bebiendoestá partiendo
nosotrosestamos hablandoestamos bebiendoestamos partiendo
vosotrosestáis hablandoestáis bebiendoestáis partiendo
ellosestán hablandoestán bebiendoestán partiendo


And here are a couple more verbs conjugated in Present Progressive. In this case, they have an Irregular Gerundio:

 DormirLeer
yoestoy durmiendoestoy leyendo
estás durmiendoestás leyendo
élestá durmiendoestá leyendo
nosotrosestamos durmiendoestamos leyendo
vosotrosestáis durmiendoestáis leyendo
ellosestán durmiendoestán leyendo

2. Use of the Present Progressive

We use the Present Progressive to communicate what is happening right now, at the moment. For example, what people are doing.


Examples Sentences:

¿Qué estás haciendo?
What are you doing?

Yo estoy estudiando para el examen.
I’m studying for the test.

Ahora estamos jugando a un videojuego.
We are now playing a video game.

Mis padres no están en casa ahora mismo. Están trabajando.
My parents are not home right now. They are working.

Está lloviendo.
It’s raining.

Vosotros estáis leyendo un libro.
You guys are reading a book.


In general, we do NOT place any word between the verb “estar” and the Gerundio.

For example, if we want to construct a negative sentence in Present Progressive, we place the particle “no” before the verb “estar”:

Vosotros no estáis durmiendo.
You guys are not sleeping.

No está nevando.
It’s not snowing.

3. Keywords and Phrases with the Present Progressive

Some keywords and phrases work very well in sentences in Present Progressive. The following are some of them:

  • Ahora = now
  • Ahora mismo = right now
  • En este momento = at the moment
  • Actualmente = currently

And here are some sentences containing those keywords:

¿Estás trabajando ahora?
Are you working now?

Ahora mismo estoy escuchando música.
I’m listening to music right now.

Mis sobrinos están durmiendo en este momento.
My nephews are sleeping at the moment.

Actualmente estamos desarrollando una nueva teoría.
We are currently developing a new theory.

4. Present Tense Vs. Present Progressive

We use the Present Tense and the Present Progressive for different things:

  • We use the Present Tense to talk about habitual actions and events, and also to state facts.
  • We use the Present Progressive to talk about what is happening right now, at the moment.

We can notice the difference by comparing the following two sentences:

María duerme ocho horas cada noche.
María sleeps eight hours every night. (Present Tense)

María está durmiendo ahora.
María is sleeping now. (Present Progressive).

5. Practice the Spanish Present Progressive

Quiz

Take this Quiz about the Spanish Present Progressive!:

Exercise 1

In the following sentences, fill the gaps in your mind or on a piece of paper using the Present Progressive, then check the solutions below.

A clue: all verbs in this exercise have a regular Gerundio:

¿Qué ______ ________ 1.(hacer) tus amigos?
La niña ______ ________ 2.(escuchar) la radio.
Nosotros ______ ________ 3.(jugar) a las cartas
Vosotras ______ ________ 4. (bailar).
Tú ______ ________ 5. (limpiar) el dormitorio.
Yo ______ _________ 6.(entender) la lección.

Solutions to the Exercise: 1 = están haciendo, 2 = está escuchando, 3 = estamos jugando, 4 = estáis bailando, 5 = estás limpiando, 6 = estoy entendiendo


Exercise 2

In the following sentences, fill the gaps in your mind or on a piece of paper using the Present Progressive, then check the solutions below.

A clue: all verbs in this exercise have an irregular Gerundio:

La madre ______ ________ 1.(leer) el periódico.
Tú ______ _________ 2.(pedir) una cerveza.
Nosotros no ______ _______ 3.(dormir).
¿Vosotros ______ _______ 4.(oír) lo que yo ______ _______ 5.(decir)?
Los camareros ______ _______ 6.(servir) la comida.

Solutions to the Exercise: 1 = está leyendo, 2 = estás pidiendo, 3 = estamos durmiendo, 4 = estáis oyendo, 5 = estoy diciendo, 6 = están sirviendo

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