A2 Level. Spanish Present Progressive Forms

Updated: Apr 4, 2020

The Spanish present progressive tense (el presente progresivo) with estar + gerundio , also called the present continuous tense (el presente continuo), is used to talk about something that is happening now. The present progressive in Spanish grammar is similar to the English present progressive tense (present tense of to be + verb in -ing form) has an equivalent structure in Spanish. We use this construction to emphasize the process or progression of an action in the present. We use the verb estar and the gerund of the main verb to conjugate this tense. In this post blog we are going to learn how to form the present progressive in Spanish through several examples and interactive quizzes. Let’s start…

The basic structure for the present progressive in Spanish

As we mentioned above, the present progressive tense in Spanish is generally used to talk about actions in progress, that is things you or someone else are doing at the moment of speaking. Unlike simple sentences such as “Yo cocino todo el día”, which are more appropriate for daily routines, sentences with the present progressive in Spanish will make use of the verb ESTAR and an additional verb.

We have covered the irregular verb ESTAR in a previous lesson, so please take some time to check that one if needed. For now, we will assume you have some basic knowledge of the verb ESTAR. Here is the basic structure for sentences in the present progressive in Spanish:

Subject + Estar (Conjugation) + Gerund

For example to find our what someone is doing right now, ask. ¿Qué estás haciendo? What are you doing?. He or she might be say:

As you can see, the verb ESTAR will change depending on the subject of the sentence. If we want to make a similar sentence with a different subject, all we need to change is the form of ESTAR, e.g. “Tú estás planchando” or “Nosotros estamos organizando”. Notice that the verbs organizando and planchando, that are the main verb in the sentences, will keep the same form for all pronouns.

How to form the gerund in Spanish: rules and examples

To form the gerund of Spanish verbs, the infinitive ending (–ar/–er/–ir) drops and the correct gerund termination is added based on the verb group they belong to.

- For –AR verbs, add –ANDO to the stem:

hablar -> to talk

Estoy hablando. No estamos hablando.

I'm talking. We are not talking.

- For –ER and -IR verbs, add –IENDO to the stem:

Comer-> to eat

¿Qué están comiendo Uds.? Enrique está comiendo calabazas.

What are you eating? Enrique is eating pumpkins.

Dormir->To sleep

Enrique está durmiendo desde temprano.

Enrique is sleeping early.


Stem changing verbs (-e → -i/-ie, -o → -ue) also change their stem in the gerund.

If the stem ends in a vowel, the - iendo changes to -yendo:

It is time to practice the grammar rules for the present progressive tense in Spanish. Follow the instructions and solve the exercises in the quiz. ¡Buena suerte!

Let's practice

Quiz Activity No. 1: What are these people are doing right now? Match the person with the correct activity.

Quiz Activity No. 2: Complete these sentences with the present progressive of the verbs in parenthesis

Listening Activity No. 3: In this video with subtitles, you are going to see, in context, Housework in Spanish “LAS TAREAS DEL HOGAR

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Hasta la vista

The Español Latino Team.

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