Continuous tenses

Reminder: the present continuous tense is used to describe something that is ongoing at the time the speaker is speaking.

Luca e Maria stanno cantando

Luca and Maria are singing.

Sto impastando la pizza.

I'm making dough for pizza.

We can make continuous forms of other tenses, too:

  • Use the imperfect of stare (to be) stare, imperfetto + gerundio (“-ing” form equivalent) to talk about actions that were ongoing in the past.

Due giorni fa stavo scrivendo una canzone.

Two days ago I was writing a song.

  • Use the future tense of stare (to be) stare, futuro + gerundio to talk about ongoing actions that will take place in the future.

Tra pochi giorni starò sciando in montagna. 

In a few days I'll be skiing in the mountains.

  • Use the conditional of stare (to be) stare, condizionale presente + gerundio to talk about actions which “would be happening” at the time in question.

Se non fossi venuto al ristorante, starei studiando per l'esame di domani.

If I hadn't come to this restaurant, I would be studying for the tomorrow's exam.

  • Use the present subjunctive of stare (to be) stare, congiuntivo presente + gerundio after verbs of opinion (credere “to believe”, pensare “to think”, etc), desire or feeling which are in the present tense.

Credo stia facendo sport. 

I think he is doing sport.

  • Use the imperfect subjunctive of stare (to be) stare, congiuntivo imperfetto + gerundio after verbs of opinion (credere “to believe”, pensare “to think”, etc), desire or feeling which are in the imperfect tense.

Pensavo stessimo andando a fare shopping.

I thought that we were going shopping.

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