Present Progressive Tense in Spanish

In English, to describe an action that is happening at the present moment, we use the pattern "to be (verb)+ing." This is called the present progressive (or continuous) tense, since it describes an action currently in progress. The "(verb)+ing" form is called the present participle, and it never changes form to match person or tense.

I am eating.
We are walking to school.
The dogs are playing.

Sometimes these sentences cantranslated as the simple present, but if you want to emphasize the fact that the action is ongoing, you should use the present progressive tense. In Spanish, this tense is formed much like in English: by using a form of the verb estar with the present participle. At a more advanced level, you will be able to form the present progressive, preterite progressive, imperfect progressive, and other progressive tenses by combining forms of estar with the present participle - but for now, we will just focus on the present progressive.

Start with the correct form of the verb estar to match your subject. Here are the simple present forms:
estar [to be]
yoestoy     nosotrosestamos
túestás     vosotrosestáis
él, ella, ustedestá     ellos/ellas/ustedesestán

Then, add the present participle, which is formed by adding -ando to the verb stem of -ar verbs, or -iendo to the verb stem of -er and -ir verbs. Here are some example present participles:
Cantar [to sing]: cantando
Hacer [to do]: haciendo
Sentir [to feel]: sentiendo

There are a few exceptions for present participles:
"-ir" stem-changing verbs change only one letter in the stem. oue stem changing verbs change from ou. eie and ei stem changers change from ei.
Dormir [to sleep]: durmiendo
Pedir [to ask for]: pidiendo
For -ir and -er verbs that end in a vowel, you add -yendo rather than -iendo, in order to keep a strong vowel in the middle of the word.
Leer [to read]: leyendo
Oír [to hear]: Oyendo
Creer [to believe]: creyendo
Ir [to go]: yendo

Example present progressive sentences:
Estamoscomiendo la cena. [We are eating dinner.]
¿Quéestanviendo? [What are they watching?]
Estoyjugando al fútbol. [I'm playing soccer.]

Related Links:
The preterite tense in Spanish
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