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Present Continuous in Portuguese

In Portuguese, as in English, we use the present continuous to talk about ongoing actions. Note, however, that the present continuous in the European and Brazilian standards look slightly different. 

Let’s take a quick look at it.  

European Portuguese

In European Portuguese, we form the present continuous with the auxiliary verb estar  in the present tense followed by the main verb in the infinitive form. In between the two, there is the preposition a:

estar (present) + a + main verb (infinitive)

Estou a ver um filme.
I am watching a movie.

Ela está a comer.
She is eating.

! In Portuguese, there are 2 to-be verbs. Learn more about it: Portuguese Verbs Ser vs. Estar: How and When to Use Either.

Brazilian Portuguese

In Brazilian Portuguese, we form the present continuous with the auxiliary verb estar  in present tense followed by the main verb in the gerund form. There’s no preposition in between the two verbs:

estar (present) + main verb (gerund)

Estou vendo um filme.
I am watching a movie.

Ela está comendo.
She is eating.

! The Portuguese gerund corresponds to the English present participle. Learn more about it: Portuguese Gerund: Progressive Tenses and Beyond

“Estar” vs. “andar”

In European Portuguese, we often use the auxiliary andar instead of estar to talk about ongoing actions. 

However, this only applies to ongoing actions that have been unfolding over the last days, weeks, or even months (as opposed to ongoing actions pertaining to the present moment):

andar (present) + a + main verb (infinitive)

Ando a fazer um curso de Português.
(= Estou a fazer um curso de Português.)
I am taking a course in Portuguese. (over the last few weeks)

Reading tips → Portuguese Regular Verbs in the Present Tense.

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