Present Continuous Spelling Rules in English

The present continuous tense is a vital part of English grammar. It helps describe actions happening right now or around the current time. Understanding how to form this tense correctly is crucial for clear communication.

When forming the present continuous tense, specific spelling rules apply to verbs. This article will guide you through these rules, along with visual aids to make learning easier. Additionally, it will touch on other English tenses to provide a more comprehensive view.

Key Takeaways

  • Present continuous is formed by adding -ing to the base verb.
  • Drop the silent ‘e’ in verbs before adding -ing.
  • Double the final consonant in one-syllable verbs if they end in consonant-vowel-consonant pattern.

Present Continuous Spelling Rules - Learn useful spelling rules (-ING rules) for the Present Continuous tense in English with examples.

Present Continuous Spelling Rules

The Present Continuous tense is formed by adding -ing to the base verb.

General Rules

  • Most verbs simply add -ing:
    • Eat becomes eating
    • Speak becomes speaking
    • Cook becomes cooking
  • For verbs ending in -y, just add -ing:
    • Buy becomes buying
    • Enjoy becomes enjoying
  • Drop the -e for verbs ending in a silent -e and add -ing:
    • Make becomes making
    • Write becomes writing
    • Drive becomes driving
  • For verbs ending in -ee, simply add -ing:
    • See becomes seeing
    • Agree becomes agreeing

Doubling the Consonant

  • For verbs ending in a consonant-vowel-consonant, double the last consonant before adding -ing:
    • Swim becomes swimming
    • Run becomes running
    • Get becomes getting
  • Do not double the consonant if the word ends with two consonants:
    • Help becomes helping
    • Talk becomes talking
    • Work becomes working
  • Two-syllable verbs with stress on the last syllable double the last consonant:
    • Forget becomes forgetting
    • Upset becomes upsetting
    • Prefer becomes preferring
  • If the word has two or more syllables and the stress is not on the last syllable, do not double the consonant:
    • Visit becomes visiting (stress on the first syllable)
    • Benefit becomes benefiting (stress on the first syllable)

Special Cases

  • Do not double the consonant if the word ends in -y or -w:
    • Buy becomes buying
    • Enjoy becomes enjoying
    • Snow becomes snowing
  • For verbs ending in -ie, change -ie to -y and add -ing:
    • Lie becomes lying
    • Die becomes dying
  • If the verb ends in -c, change -c to -ck before adding -ing:
    • Picnic becomes picnicking


  • Age becomes ageing
  • Dye becomes dyeing
  • Singe becomes singeing
  • Budget becomes budgeting
  • Enter becomes entering

Examples in Use

  • He is eating lunch.
  • She is writing a letter.
  • They are running in the park.
  • We are enjoying the movie.

These rules are key to forming the present continuous tense properly.

All Tenses in English

Learn all (12) tenses in English with useful grammar rules, examples and ESL worksheets.

Verb Tenses Chart