Present Continuous in French

How to translate sentences like ‘I am doing’ in French.

French Present Continuous

Video of the Lesson:


To emphasize what one is doing right now, in English, we use the verb “to be” and the “present participle” of the verb :
I am doing (doing is the present participle of to do).

First, we don’t use verbs ending in -ant to translate English verbs ending in -ing:
I am doing IS NOT Je suis faisant!

To translate the Present continuous in French we have two possibilities:

1. The Present tense

If someone says: Qu’est-ce que tu fais? (French Present Tense)
we understand that it is now, so if we reply: je mange, we understand, I am eating!

2. The form: être en train de + infinitive (to be in the process of)

If you want to emphazise, you can say: Qu’est-ce que tu es est en train de faire? Je suis en train de manger!

More Examples:
-You are eating: Tu manges (present tense) or Tu es en train de manger
-He is playing: Il joue or Il est en train de jouer
-We are not eating: nous ne mangeons pas or nous ne sommes pas en train de manger
-What are you doing? : Qu’est-ce que tu fais? or Qu’est-ce que tu es en train de faire?

Using the Continuous form in the past:
I was eating, we need the Imparfait: je mangeais. (the imparfait because the tense expresses a duration)
The imparfait is already a continuous tense in French but if you want to emphazise you can add the “être en train de” form: J’étais en train de manger.

Image of French Present continous (you can download or share)

Exercise: Fill the blanks French Present Continuous

Pascal Dherve

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