Spanish Verbs: Present Progressive

The present progressive tense describes what a person "is doing" at that very moment. In Spanish the present progressive only describes an action that is currently taking place. The present progressive is formed by combining the present indicative of the verb estar (to be) with the present participle.

The present progressive formula: estar + present participle (verb stem + -ando for ar verbs / verb stem + -iendo for -er and -ir verbs). Read and listen to the following examples of the -ar verb "hablar" in the present progressive, then repeat each out loud.

I am speaking
Estoy hablando
You are speaking (familiar)
Estás hablando
You are speaking (formal)
He is speaking
She is speaking
Está hablando
We are speaking
Estamos hablando
You are speaking (familiar plural)
Estáis hablando
You are speaking (formal plural)
They are speaking
Están hablando

Present Progressive Uses and Examples

The present progressive is used to tell what a person is doing right now. Study and listen to the following examples. (Note: there are many stem-changing and irregular verbs in the present participle that you must know in order to form the present progressive.)

Mark is eating his dinner.
Marcos está cenando.
The baby is sleeping.
El bebé está durmiendo
He is doing everything possible.
Él está haciendo todo lo posible.
We are cooking dinner.
Estamos cocinando la cena.
They are living in an apartment until their house is built.
Ellos están viviendo en un apartamento hasta que su casa está construida.
The boy is falling off his bicycle.
El niño está cayendo de su bicicleta.
They are fleeing from the police.
Ellas están huyendo de la policía.
The boy is following his mother.
El chico está siguiendo a su madre.
He is reading the Holy Bible.
Está leyendo la Santa Biblia.
She is bringing the food right now.
Ella está trayendo la comida ahora mismo.
The poor thing is dying.
El pobrecito está muriendo.

People learning Spanish for the first time often confuse the present indicative with the present progressive. Remember, the present progressive is only used for actions that are currently "in progress". Consider the following examples of the present indicative versus the present progressive in Spanish.

I am studying Spanish.
(right now, at this moment)
Estoy estudiando español.
I am studying Spanish.
(these days)
Estudio español.


I am going to the store.
(right now, at this very moment)
Estoy yendo a la tienda.
I am going to the store.
(in a little while, later today)
Voy a la tienda.