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.||
watashi wa zasshi o yonde imasu.
The present continuous can be negated by negating the いる ending.
|It is not raining today.||
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||
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 知る, 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?||
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)||
kanojo wa igirisu ni itte imasu.
|He has come to Italy. (and is still here)||
itaria ni kite imasu.