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What Are the Progressive Tenses?Progressive tense is a category of verb tense used to describe ongoing actions. The progressive tenses are the past progressive tense, the present progressive tense, and the future progressive tense. The progressive tenses are sometimes called the "continuing" or "continuous" tenses.
Table of Contents
- Examples of Verbs in a Progressive Tense
- Forming the Progressive Tenses
- Verb Tenses Showing the Progressive Tenses
- Interactive Verb Conjugation Tables
- The Progressive Aspect
- Why Progressive Tenses Are Important
- Printable Test
Examples of Verbs in a Progressive TenseHere are some examples of verbs in a progressive tense:
The Past Progressive Tense
- I was going.
- He was seeing.
The Present Progressive Tense
- I am going.
- He is seeing.
The Future Progressive Tense
- I will be going.
- He will be seeing.
In the Past Tense
- He was playing. (past progressive tense)
- They were singing. (past progressive tense)
In the Present Tense
- I am diving. (present progressive tense)
- We are leaving. (present progressive tense)
In the Future Tense
- I will be talking. (future progressive tense)
- We will be running. (future progressive tense)
Forming the Progressive TensesThe progressive aspect is formed using a form of the auxiliary verb "to be" and the present participle. For example:
Forming the Past Progressive Tense
- She was thinking.
- We were filming.
Forming the Present Progressive Tense
- She is eating.
- We are playing.
Forming the Future Progressive Tense
- He will be presenting.
Verb Tenses Showing the Progressive TensesHere are all 12 tenses. The progressive (or continuing) tenses are shaded in yellow.
|The 4 Past Tenses||Example|
|simple past tense||I went|
|past progressive tense||I was going|
|past perfect tense||I had gone|
|past perfect progressive tense||I had been going|
|The 4 Present Tenses||Example|
|simple present tense||I go|
|present progressive tense||I am going|
|present perfect tense||I have gone|
|present perfect progressive tense||I have been going|
|The 4 Future Tenses||Example|
|simple future tense||I will go|
|future progressive tense||I will be going|
|future perfect tense||I will have gone|
|future perfect progressive tense||I will have been going|
Top 10 Regular Verbs
Top 10 Irregular Verbs
All 4 Past Tenses
|Person||Simple Past||Past Progressive Tense||Past Perfect Tense||Past Perfect Progressive Tense|
The simple past tense is for a completed activity that happened in the past.
The past progressive tense is for an ongoing activity in the past. Often, it is used to set the scene for another action.
The past perfect tense is for emphasizing that an action was completed before another took place.
The past perfect progressive tense is for showing that an ongoing action in the past has ended.
All 4 Present Tenses
|Person||Simple Present||Present Progressive Tense||Present Perfect Tense||Present Perfect Progressive Tense|
The simple present tense is mostly for a fact or a habit.
The present progressive tense is for an ongoing action in the present.
The present perfect tense is for an action that began in the past. (Often, the action continues into the present.)
The present perfect progressive tense is for a continuous activity that began in the past and continues into the present (or finished very recently).
All 4 Future Tenses
|Person||Simple Future||Future Progressive Tense||Future Perfect Tense||Future Perfect Progressive Tense|
The simple future tense is for an action that will occur in the future.
The future progressive tense is for an ongoing action that will occur in the future.
The future perfect tense is for an action that will have been completed at some point in the future.
The future perfect progressive tense is for an ongoing action that will be completed at some specified time in the future.
The Progressive AspectThe term progressive aspect is used to group all verbs (past, present, and future) in the progressive tenses. (Remember that the aspect of a verb is determined by whether its action is ongoing or completed.)
Here's a good tip to help you with mastering the tenses: Concentrate on the following:
- The verb "to be" in all its forms (am, is, are, was, were, will be)
- The verb "to have" in all its forms (has, have, had, will have)
- Present participles, i.e., the "ing" form of verbs (e.g., driving, knowing, playing)
- Past participles (e.g., driven, known, played)
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