Sometimes when forming the present participle it is necessary to change the spelling of a word so that it agrees with the way it is pronounced. We call this an “orthographic” change. Here are some common examples:
To form the present progressive, simply conjugate the verb estar to agree with the subject of the sentence, and follow it with the present participle.
Juan está comiendo pan. John is eating bread. María y Carmen están hablando con nosotros. Mary and Carmen are speaking with us.
Remember, only use the present progressive for actions that are “in progress.” Compare the uses of the present indicative with the uses of the present progressive.
Estudio español. (Present Indicative) I study Spanish. I am studying Spanish (these days). I do study Spanish. Estoy estudiando español. (Present Progressive) I am studying (right now, at this moment) Spanish.
It is important to remember that you would never use the present progressive to say something like “We are going to Spain this summer.” Use present progressive only for actions that are “in progress.”
Let’s add two more verb flashcards: one for present progressive and one for practice in forming the present participle: