"Tu es en train de regarder les chiens."
Translation:You are looking at the dogs.
The phrase "être en train de + infinitive" is the nearest substitute for the English continuous tenses, to express that an action is in progress at the time you speak.
You have learned that "you are watching" usually translates to "tu regardes", but if French speakers wish to be precise about what's happening right now, they will use this phrase.
Similarly, when English speakers wish to be precise, we say "in the middle of" or "in the process of". So, I'm not sure why that translation isn't accepted.
You don't need to be more precise than the French since you can use a continuous tense to mean exactly the same thing.
"Être en train de" is a phrase which is equivalent to the English present progressive tense.
According to a lookup i just did, tu es en train means something like "you are in the middle of"
It is not necessarily the exact "middle of", but the overall idea is "in the process of". In any event, in the present tense, and with no hint to a future action, it is the exact translation of a continuous verbal form.
"en train de" appears to be the idiom for saying "in the process of" doing whatever verb follows.
is there any pronunciation difference between "le chien" and "les chiens"?
"John is studying English at university" (not at this moment, but generally). "Sheila is spending some time in the United States next autumn" (not at this moment, but next year). These are typical uses of the present continuous in British English. Will french allow en train de with these sentences? If not, then the en train de construction is not quite the same as the present continuous.
"Être en train de faire quelque chose" means one thing: to be in the process of doing something. So it can be used to stress the current situation when English would used it with the same meaning:
- Tu es en train de regarder les chiens is exactly what you are doing at this very moment
Habits or routine are expressed with the present tense:
- John étudie l'anglais à l'université.
Future perspectives are expressed with the near future or the simple future tense:
- Sheila [[va passer/passera] quelque temps aux Etats-Unis l'automne prochain.
My take on this: "regarder" = "looking at" "en train de regarder" = "watching"