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Lesson 160: The present continuous and past continuous

The present continuous verb tense (or present progressive) connotes an action that is ongoing/has not been completed. They are eating lunch is an example of a sentence using this verb tense. In Japanese, verbs are conjugated to the present continuous with the pattern て-form + いる.

I am reading a magazine. わたしざっんでいます。
watashi wa zasshi o yonde imasu.

The present continuous can be negated by negating the いる ending.

It is not raining today. きょあめっていません。
kyou wa ame ga futte imasen.

The past continuous is formed by simply putting the いる ending in the past tense.

Jon was learning Karate in Japan ジョンはほんからならっていました。
jon wa nihon de karate o naratte imashita.

You will find that the present continuous is often used in situations in Japanese where it would not be used in English and vice-versa. One of the most common examples of this is with the verb , which means to know. When making sentences like I know the answer or What do you know about computers?, you normally use the present continuous in Japanese.

Do you know the password? パスワードをっていますか。
pasuwaado o shitte imasu ka.

Sometimes the present continuous is even used for actions that are already completed. For example, this is the case with the verbs 行く and 来る.

She has gone to England. (and is still there) かのじょはイギリスにっています。
kanojo wa igirisu ni itte imasu.
He has come to Italy. (and is still here) イタリアにています。
itaria ni kite imasu.
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