Spanish Present Progressive Tense


The term present progressive is a grammatical way of describing the verb tense that emphasizes that an action is currently taking place as we speak or RIGHT NOW. It is characterized by the verb “to be,” followed by a second verb that ends with –ing (the present participle).

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What are we actually saying when we use the present progressive

The present progressive tense is the tense used when an action is presently and  continually happening. In English, this is when we hear the ending “ing”. For example: “I am running”, “he is singing”, “we are cooking”. 

How do we form this tense?

Just like in English, we need two parts to form this tense in Spanish. The two parts are 1. a form of the verb to be (ie: am, are, is) and 2. a verb in the present progressive tense (ie: a verb ending in “ing”). In Spanish this looks like:

Estar (to be) +Verb in the present progressive tense

**Remember estar has an irregular yo conjugation

Yo – estoyNosotros/Nosotras – estamos
 – estásVosotros/Vosotras – estáis
Él, ella, usted – estáEllos, Ellas, Ustedes – están


To put a verb in the present progressive tense, we use two endings: -ando and -iendo. We chop off the infinitive ending (-ar, -er, -ir) and then add -ando for -ar verbs and -iendo for -er/-ir verbs. 

For example: hablar – hablando, comer – comiendo 

How do we form the irregulars and when do we use them?

  1. If the stem of an -er or -ir verb ends in a vowel, -iendo changes to -yendo. (a few examples: creer – creyendo, leer – leyendo, incluir – incluyendo)
  2. The verb ir (to go) simply becomes “yendo
  3. -ir verbs that stem change in the él/ella/usted form of the preterite (e > i, or o>u) have the same stem change in the present progressive. (a few examples: decir – diciendo, pedir – pidiendo, seguir – siguiendo)

Vocabulary – 

Around the home! Use these words to find out what people are doing at home and where. 

La casa – the house 

La cocina – the kitchen

Cocinar – to cook

Mezclar – to mix

El jardín – the garden

Cortar (el césped) – to cut (the grass)

Regar – to water

El baño – the bathroom

Limpiar – to clean

El dormitorio – the bedroom

Organizar – to organize

Arreglar – to straighten/tidy up

El comedor – the dining room 

La sala / El salón – the living room 

La mesa – the table

Poner – to put 

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Common European Framework of Reference for Languages

The CEFR is an international standard used to describe language ability. Here are specific details of the CEFR for this topic.

General Explanation:

Can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment). Can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters. Can describe in simple terms aspects of his/her background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need.

Specific Capabilities at this Level

I can write short, simple notes and messages relating to matters in areas of immediate needs. I can write a very simple personal letter, for example thanking someone for something.
Spoken Production:
I can use a series of phrases and sentences to describe in simple terms my family and other people, living conditions, my educational background and my present or most recent job.
Spoken Interaction:
I can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar topics and activities. I can handle very short social exchanges, even though I can’t usually understand enough to keep the conversation going myself.
I can read very short, simple texts. I can find specific, predictable information in simple everyday material such as advertisements, prospectuses, menus and timetables and I can understand short simple personal letters.
I can understand phrases and the highest frequency vocabulary related to areas of most immediate personal relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local area, employment). I can catch the main point in short, clear, simple messages and announcements.