Present Progressive Spanish: Ultimate Guide on How to Use Progressive with Chunking

Right now, as you read this sentence, an action is currently happening – the process of your mind absorbing and processing these very words. This continuous action shows the essence of the present progressive Spanish.

Don’t worry about understanding present progressive in Spanish – or for that matter, any other tense. Spring Spanish (a project I co-founded) made a complete guide on all of them:

And in this ultimate guide to reach the goal of Effortless Conversations, we’ll explore the most important things about the Spanish present progressive tense. First of all, it’s important to understand that it’s also known as the present continuous.

And what more to know about it? Read on!

1. How to form the present progressive in Spanish?

Effortless Answers

Forming the present progressive tense in Spanish involves combining the conjugated form of the verb “estar” (to be) with the present participle (gerund form) of the main verb you want to express, so like this:

ESTAR + PRESENT PARTICIPLE OF THE MAIN VERB

The present participle is created by taking the verb stem and adding the ending “-ando” for -ar verbs or “-iendo” for -er and -ir verbs.

A few examples:

  • Estoy hablando. [I am speaking.]
  • Estás comiendo. [You are eating.]
  • Ellos están jugando. [They are playing.]

To better understand forming this tense, we’ll have to break it down. Read on to learn about regular verbs in present progressive and irregular verbs in present progressive.

How to form negative sentences in the Spanish present progressive?

Making a sentence negative in the present progressive isn’t as hard as you might initially think. It simply requires adding the word “no” before the conjugated form of “estar.”:

  • No estoy hablando. [I am not speaking.]
  • No estás comiendo. [You are not eating.]
  • Ellos no están jugando. [They are not playing.]

How to form questions with the present progressive tense?

Now, forming questions is another topics.

how to form questions with present progressive spanish - a question mark in a notebook

There are two common ways to form questions using the present progressive in Spanish.

The first is by using interrogative pronunciation and intonation when speaking.

The second way is to add question words in Spanish like “¿Qué?“, “¿Quién?“, “¿Cuándo?“, “¿Dónde?“, etc. at the beginning.

Take a look at these examples:

  • ¿Estás hablando? [Are you speaking?]
  • ¿Qué están haciendo? [What are they doing?]
  • ¿Cuándo estará llegando? [When will he/she be arriving?]

2. When to use the present progressive in Spanish?

The present progressive tense is useful for describing actions, events or situations that are currently in progress or happening temporarily.

Here are some of the most common uses and examples:

  • Talking about something occurring at the moment of speaking:
    • Estoy escribiendo un email a mi jefe. [I am writing an email to my boss.]
  • Describing temporary actions or situations with a limited duration:
    • Están trabajando en un proyecto nuevo esta semana. [They are working on a new project this week.]
  • With certain verbs like “ver” (to see), “ir” (to go), “llegar” (to arrive):
    • Estoy viendo una película interesante. [I am watching an interesting movie.]
    • ¿A dónde estás yendo? [Where are you going?]
  • For actions in progress:
    • Los niños están jugando en el parque en este momento. [The children are playing at the park right now.]
  • Describing physical positions or temporary states:
    • Estoy sentado en la sala de espera. [I am sitting in the waiting room.]

3. Regular verbs to form the present progressive

As mentioned earlier, forming the present participle for regular Spanish verbs follows a set pattern based on the verb type (-ar, -er, or -ir).

Regular -AR verbs in present progressive

Subject PronounVerb: Hablar (to speak)Present Progressive Formation
yohabloestoy hablando
hablasestás hablando
él/ella/ustedhablaestá hablando
nosotroshablamosestamos hablando
vosotroshabláisestáis hablando
ellos/ellas/ustedeshablanestán hablando

In real-life scenarios:

  • Estoy hablando por videollamada con mi mejor amiga que vive en otro país. [I am speaking on a video call with my best friend who lives in another country.]
  • Los estudiantes están estudiando para el examen final de matemáticas. [The students are studying for the final math exam.]
  • Mamá y yo estamos caminando alrededor del parque todas las mañanas para hacer ejercicio. [Mom and I are walking around the park every morning to exercise.]

Regular -ER verbs in present progressive

Subject PronounVerb: Comer (to eat)Present Progressive Formation
yocomoestoy comiendo
comesestás comiendo
él/ella/ustedcomeestá comiendo
nosotroscomemosestamos comiendo
vosotroscoméisestáis comiendo
ellos/ellas/ustedescomenestán comiendo

In real-life sentences:

  • Ellos están comiendo pizza para la cena. [They are eating pizza for dinner.]
  • ¿Estás bebiendo suficiente agua durante el día? [Are you drinking enough water during the day?]
  • Los niños están aprendiendo a leer en la escuela. [The children are learning to read at school.]

Regular -IR verbs in present progressive

Subject PronounVerb: Vivir (to live)Present Progressive Formation
yovivoestoy viviendo
vivesestás viviendo
él/ella/ustedviveestá viviendo
nosotrosvivimosestamos viviendo
vosotrosvivísestáis viviendo
ellos/ellas/ustedesvivenestán viviendo

And a few examples with -IR verbs:

  • Ahora mismo estoy viviendo con mis padres mientras busco un apartamento. [Right now I am living with my parents while I look for an apartment.]
  • ¿Estás asistiendo a clases de español los martes? [Are you attending Spanish classes on Tuesdays?]
  • Ellos no están consiguiendo buenos resultados con ese método. [They are not getting good results with that method.]

The pattern is clear – drop the infinitive ending (-ar, -er, -ir) to get the verb stem, then add -ando for -ar verbs and -iendo for -er/-ir verbs to form the present participle.

4. Stem changing irregular verbs to form the Spanish present progressive

While regular verbs follow a consistent pattern, there is a group of irregular Spanish verbs that undergo stem changes when forming the present participle.

These are known as stem-changing irregular verbs, and they are quite common in Spanish. Present progressive is no exception.

Infinitive VerbMeaningStem ChangePresent ParticipleExample Sentence
poderto be able topud-pudiendoEstoy pudiendo tomar un descanso. (I am being able to take a break.)
quererto wantquier-queriendo¿Estás queriendo más comida? (Are you wanting more food?)
venirto comevin-viniendoEstán viniendo a la fiesta. (They are coming to the party.)
decirto saydic-diciendoNo estoy diciendo la verdad. (I am not saying the truth.)
pedirto ask forpid-pidiendoEstamos pidiendo la cuenta. (We are asking for the bill.)
dormirto sleepdurm-durmiendoLos bebés están durmiendo. (The babies are sleeping.)
sentirto feelsint-sintiendo¿Estás sintiendo frío? (Are you feeling cold?)
seguirto follow, continuesig-siguiendoEstoy siguiendo tus instrucciones. (I am following your instructions.)
divertirseto have fundivirt-divirtiéndoseSe están divirtiendo mucho. (They are having a lot of fun.)
servirto servesirv-sirviendoEstamos sirviendo la cena. (We are serving dinner.)

A few real-life examples with stem-changing verbs:

  • No puedo estar durmiendo, tengo que estudiar. [I cannot be sleeping, I have to study.]
  • Están queriendo ir al cine esta noche. [They are wanting to go to the movies tonight.]

The stem changes often happen with a vowel alternation in the verb stem when forming the present participle. (You can learn more about Spanish conjugation on our website.)

5. Practice present progressive with our practice worksheets

Fill in the blanks with the correct form for present progressive in Spanish!

This was just a little bit of teasing. Curious for more? Click the button and request access to our Full Practice Worksheet Library!

6. Learn present progressive Spanish tense with Conversation Based Chunking

Learning the present progressive tense in Spanish is great for describing actions currently taking place or temporary situations.

While conjugations and stem-changing verbs are a challenge, you can take advantage of Conversation Based Chunking, which makes the learning process more engaging.

This innovative language learning method breaks down everything about the Spanish grammar and allows you to practice present progressive in realistic context.

Via repetitive exposure, the patterns for forming and using the Spanish present progressive become easier – both to use and to understand.

Here’s your chance to grab the Spanish Chunking Starter Pack and learn more about the method!

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