Spanish Grammar Guide

Spanish present progressive

For actions that are currently happening, in English we use to be + verb-ing (it is raining, Juan is eating, I am writing a book...).

In Spanish, we always use estar for progressive tenses, followed by the gerundio, our equivalent of the English -ing form, which is built by adding:

-ando to the root of -AR verbs

Yo estoy cantando. Juan está llamando a su madre.

-iendo to the root of -ER and -IR verbs 

Nosotros estamos bebiendo agua. Usted está escribiendo.

This tense is commonly used with adverbs ahora (now) and hoy (today).


Llover to rain
Nevar to snow

When we want to say it’s raining or snowing, we have to use the progressive tense in the third person singular, since llover and nevar are impersonal verbs:

Está lloviendo it’s raining
Está nevando it’s snowing

When we conjugate them in the present tense (for habits or facts), we need to keep in mind that nevar and llover are stem-changing verbs. Also, since they are impersonal verbs, we only conjugate them in the third person singular: 

Llueve it rains
Nieva it snows

En Arizona nunca nieva.

En Seattle llueve casi cada día.


VICTOR: Hola Pamela, ¿qué estás haciendo?

PAMELA: Hola Victor. Estoy mirando la televisión y respondiendo emails de mis amigas. También estoy cocinando una sopa (soup) de pollo. Hoy hace mucho frío, ¿no?

V: Sí, un poco, está nevando. 

P: Sí. Me gusta el invierno. ¿Qué estás haciendo?

V: Estoy escribiendo un artículo y lavando mi ropa. Mi perro está comiendo.

P: Muy bien. 

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