The present continuous tense is also known as the present progressive tense. Continuous actions always begin some time in the past and continues in the present and maybe in the future, too.
(a) Now, present, current on-going actions
- They are washing the car (now).
- I am driving (now), so I can’t talk over the phone.
(b) Longer continuous actions but not doing them at this moment
- I’m studying to be a doctor.
- I’m reading another Harry Potter series.
- He is learning to play the guitar.
In all the three examples above, the speaker could be talking to you in the park (for instance). He is not studying, reading or learning at that time. Here, all three actions are part of a longer, continuous process.
(c) Future actions
Future actions can also be expressed in the present continuous:
- My sister is attending her graduation soon.
- Mom and dad are leaving for Malaysia in a month’s time.
- They are watching football with their friends tonight.