The present continuous tense

To say what you are doing at the moment, you use the present continuous tense.

To form the present continuous, you use:

  1. the correct form of the verb estar in the present tense and
  2. the present participle (sometimes called the gerund)
(yo)estoy+ present participle(-ando, -iendo, -iendo)
(tu)estás
(él/ella/usted)está
(nosotros/as)estamos
(vosotros/as)estáis
(ellos/ellas/ustedes)están

For example:

  • Estoy escuchando música. - I am listening to music.
  • Mi hermano está viendo la tele. - My brother is watching TV.

The present participle

This is the equivalent of the English verb form which ends in '-ing'. To form the present participle, remove the -ar, -er or -ir from the infinitive and add these endings:

  • -ar verbs → -ando
  • -er verbs → -iendo
  • -ir verbs → -iendo

A small number of verbs (including some stem-changing verbs) have irregular present participles. For example:

  • leer (to read) → leyendo (reading)
  • oír (to hear) → oyendo (hearing)
  • dormir (to sleep) → durmiendo (sleeping)
  • morir (to die) → muriendo (dying)