The present progressive describes what you’re doing or what’s happening at the time you report it. For example, “I am explaining present progressive.” Think of it as an action progressing (going on) at the current moment.
In English, there are two parts that make up the present progressive: the auxiliary (helping verb) “to be,” and the present participle, also called a gerund, which is the verb with the -ing ending.
In Spanish, we form present progressive the same way! The auxiliary verb is “estar,” which means “to be.” Next comes the present participle, or gerund. In Spanish, the gerund has an ending of –ando or –iendo.
So to form the present progressive in Spanish, we would use:
Subject + “estar” + gerund
So our English example (“I am explaining present progressive”), in Spanish, would be:
Yo estoy explicando el presente continuo.
Let’s take a closer look at how to form the present participle of a verb in Spanish.
Estoy comprando cervezas. I am buying beer.
-ER / -IR Verbs
Estoy bebiendo café. I am drinking coffee.
¿Quién está saliendo? Who is leaving?
ir yendo going
caer cayendo falling
creer creyendo believing
leer leyendo reading
**Notice that the irregular gerunds above have a pattern to them. If they were regular, they would be iendo, caiendo, creiendo, leiendo. That’s a lot of vowels in a row! That’s why the “i” was just replaced with a “y”—it keeps the same sound, and makes it easier to read.
¿A dónde estás yendo? Where are you going?
Estoy leyendo el libro de María. I am reading Maria’s book.
Se esta cayendo. It is falling.