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How do we spell the Present Continuous Tense?

We make the present continuous tense by adding -ing to the base verb. Normally it's simple - we just add -ing. But sometimes we have to change the word a little. Perhaps we double the last letter, or we drop a letter. Here are the rules to help you know how to spell the present continuous tense.

Basic rule Just add -ing to the base verb:
work > working
play > playing
assist > assisting
see > seeing
be > being
Exception 1 If the base verb ends in consonant + stressed vowel + consonant, double the last letter:
s t o p
  consonant stressed
(vowels = a, e, i, o, u)
stop > stopping
run > running
begin > beginning
Note that this exception does not apply when the last syllable of the base verb is not stressed:
open > opening
Exception 2 If the base verb ends in ie, change the ie to y:
lie > lying
die > dying
Exception 3 If the base verb ends in vowel + consonant + e, omit the e:
come > coming
mistake > mistaking

Now check your understanding »

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