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Present Progressive in Spanish Made Easy [With Examples & Charts]

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Are you struggling in your fight with present progressive in Spanish? If your answer is “yes”, this article will be the superhero that rescues you.

Conjugation isn’t the easiest thing about Spanish. In fact, it can be quite intimidating if you try to tackle this villain the wrong way. It seems so different from what we know in English!

But don’t worry, I can help you power through it.

In this post, I’ll give you an in-depth explanation of the present progressive tense in Spanish.

Want to hear the best part? I’ll keep it simple. And I’ll include many examples and charts to make sure you master it all.

So what do you say? Let’s be allies?

Great! Grab your cape and your mask, my friend, because we’re about to kick some Spanish conjugation!

What Is “Present Progressive” in Spanish?

To understand what “present progressive” means in Spanish, let’s first refresh your memory on what it is in English.

Progressive verb tenses, also called “continuous tenses”, describe actions that are in process or unfinished.


  • I was going to come.
  • I am eating breakfast.
  • I will be sleeping.

As you can see, progressive tenses are formed with a conjugated verb “to be” and the “-ing” form of another verb.

Our enemy number one at the moment is the second example, the “present progressive” tense: “I am eating.”

Now let’s talk about el presente progresivo, the “present progressive” in Spanish.

How to Form El Presente Progresivo, the Present Progressive Tense in Spanish

Before we get started, there’s something I have to tell you.

In the introduction, I mentioned how it seems like Spanish conjugation is very different from English conjugation. That’s what it might feel like… But we experienced language superheroes know better.

In fact, the two share some similarities when it comes to structure.

The presente progresivo, also called presente continuo (“continuous present”), follows this layout:

simple present tense of the verb estar (“to be”) + gerundio (“gerund” or the -ing form of a verb)


  • Estoy comiendo. – “I am eating.”
  • Estás hablando. – “You are talking.”

¡Ojo! (“Watch out!”): There are two verbs that translate to “to be” in Spanish: ser and estar.

Estar in Spanish means “to be” in a temporary moment. It makes sense that it’s the verb used for the present progressive, the time that describes an unfinished or in-process action.

Estar – The Simple Present Conjugation of “To Be”

As we’ve seen above, you need two words to form an invincible present progressive phrase in Spanish. Let’s learn about the first one: the simple present tense of estar.

Here is a conjugation chart:

Estar (“to be”)
yo estoy I am
tu, vos estás you are (singular informal)
él, ella, usted está he, she is / you are (formal singular)
nosotros, nosotras estamos we are
vosotros, vosotras estáis you are (plural informal in Spain)
ellos, ellas, ustedes están they are / you are (plural formal in Spain, standard plural in Latin America)

Los Gerundios – “The Gerunds”

The second part of the power combo is the “gerund”. You might recognize it more easily if I disclose its secret identity: it’s the “-ing” form of a verb. You know, like “running” or “fighting”.

You take the root of the verb and add “-ing” at the end.

In Spanish, it is a bit more tricky to make up a gerund.

The main rule still is to use the root of the verb, but the ending is treated differently. A verb’s gerund depends on what group the verb belongs to: first or second and third.

Think of the verb groups as superhero teams that unite verbs with the same traits:

  • all verbs ending in -ar belong to the first group. Examples include hablar (“to speak”) and llamar (“to call”).
  • all verbs ending in -er belong to the second group. Verbs such as comer (“to eat”) and saber (“to know”).
  • all verbs ending in -ir belong to the third group. Think of dormir (“to sleep”) and reír (to laugh”).

To form the gerund, remove -ar, -er, and -ir from the verb and replace it with the appropriate ending.

The gerund’s ending for a verb that belongs to the first group is:

-andohablando (“eating”), cocinando (“cooking”)

The gerund’s ending for the verbs that belong to the second and third group are:

-iendocomiendo (“eating”), riendo (“laughing”)

¡Ojo! There are some exceptions to the rule. I’ll talk more about them later in the post.

Now… Onto the Spanish Present Progressive Examples!

I told you at the beginning of the post that I would add to our journey with charts and examples to make the topic easier to understand.

Well… The time has come.

Spanish Present Progressive – First Group

Estar hablando (“to be talking”)
yo estoy hablando I am talking
tu, vos estás hablando you are talking
él, ella, usted está hablando he, she is talking / you are talking
nosotros, nosotras estamos hablando we are talking
vosotros, vosotras estáis hablando you are talking
ellos, ellas, ustedes están hablando they, you are talking

Note: Verbs such as dar (“to give”), cocinar (“to cook”), trabajar (“to work”), llegar “(to arrive”), pasar (“to pass”), dejar (“to leave”), and llamar (“to call”) follow this pattern.

Spanish Present Progressive – Second Group

Estar comiendo (“to be eating”)
yo estoy comiendo I am eating
tu, vos estás comiendo you are eating
él, ella, usted está comiendo he, she is eating / you are eating
nosotros, nosotras estamos comiendo we are eating
vosotros, vosotras estáis comiendo you are eating
ellos, ellas, ustedes están comiendo they, you are eating

Note: Ser (“to be”), tener (“to have”), hacer (“to do”), ver (“to see”), saber (“to know”), querer (“to like” or “to want”), and parecer (“to look like”) are a few examples of second-group verbs that conjugate like comer for this tense.

Spanish Present Progressive – Third Group

Estar viviendo (“to be living”)
yo estoy viviendo I am living
tu, vos estás viviendo you are living
él, ella, usted está viviendo he, she is living / you are living
nosotros, nosotras estamos viviendo we are living
vosotros, vosotras estáis viviendo you are living
ellos, ellas, ustedes están viviendo they, you are living

Note: A lot of the third-group verbs are irregular and do not follow the same pattern as vivir. However, there still are a few, like salir (“to exit” or “to go out”), escribir (“to write”), and recibir (“to receive”).

Irregular Present Progressive – The Rebel Verbs

There are two types of “irregular” verbs when it comes to gerunds:

  • Those who don’t keep their root for the gerund. I don’t know if they’re trying to be creative or just want to have a cooler spelling. The point is, watch out for the verbs whose root changes when they shift into gerund format.
  • Those whose spelling makes it necessary to change the suffix -iendo into -yendo.

Keep in mind that only verbs of the second and third group can be irregular. All the verbs of the first group follow the standard gerund rules.

Let me give you a few examples here with -ir verbs

Estar yendo (“to be going”)
yo estoy yendo I am going
tu, vos estás yendo you are going
él, ella, usted está yendo he, she is going / you are going
nosotros, nosotras estamos yendo we are going
vosotros, vosotras estáis yendo you are going
ellos, ellas, ustedes están yendo they, you are going


Estar leyendo (“to be reading”)
yo estoy leyendo I am reading
tu, vos estás leyendo you are reading
él, ella, usted está leyendo he, she is reading / you are reading
nosotros, nosotras estamos leyendo we are reading
vosotros, vosotras estáis leyendo you are reading
ellos, ellas, ustedes están leyendo they, you are reading


Estar durmiendo (“to be sleeping”)
yo estoy durmiendo I am sleeping
tu, vos estás durmiendo you are sleeping
él, ella, usted está durmiendo he, she is sleeping / you are sleeping
nosotros, nosotras estamos durmiendo we are sleeping
vosotros, vosotras estáis durmiendo you are sleeping
ellos, ellas, ustedes están durmiendo they, you are sleeping


Estar cayendo(se) (“to be falling”)
yo (me) estoy cayendo I am falling
tu, vos (te) estás cayendo you are falling
él, ella, usted (se) está cayendo he, she is falling  / you are falling
nosotros, nosotras (nos) estamos cayendo we are falling
vosotros, vosotras (os) estáis cayendo you are falling
ellos, ellas, ustedes (se) están cayendo they, you are falling

Note: Caerse is a reflexive verb that means “to fall”. If you are interested in reflexive verbs, I advise you to take a look at this post where I wrote about them. I hope you like space travelling for that mission.

Estamos Llegando al Final de La Misión – “We Are Reaching the End of the Mission”

Here we are: the end of the feat. Congratulations, you’ve conquered the present progressive tense in Spanish!

I guess you could say you’re the master of presente progresivo now. And I am honoured to have been by your side along the way.

Have you enjoyed my superhero talk through the post? Honestly, I think it’s a lot more fun to learn something tough through fun explanations. And you know what else is fun? Talking about superheroes in Spanish!

I didn’t do it here because you already had a lot to keep an eye on. But if you’d like to learn how to say “superhero” or “champion” in Spanish, you should check my post on the subject. (There’s also plenty of vocab for my fellow Marvel, DC, and Star Wars nerds!)

Now, it looks like it’s time for us to say goodbye… for the time being. But I wouldn’t put it past Spanish to come up with a new obstacle to throw in your way. If that ever happens, remember: I’m always up for being your Spanish language-learning sidekick.

You know where to find me if you need a hand.

See you soon for more adventures!

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Benny Lewis

Founder, Fluent in 3 Months

Fun-loving Irish guy, full-time globe trotter and international bestselling author. Benny believes the best approach to language learning is to speak from day one.

Speaks: Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Esperanto, Mandarin Chinese, American Sign Language, Dutch, Irish

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