Grammar-QuizzesVerb PhrasesVerb GroupPresent Tense › Progressive

Present Progressive (Continuous)

Express ongoing, continuous or repetitive activity

jogging
 

 

Permanent vs. Temporary

HABIT

Present nonprogressive reports habitual or routine activity. The tense does not focus on the timing, rather it focuses on the activity. It expresses "general truth" or routine activity. Expressions for timing can be added, for example, "calendar times" (daily, yearly, in the evening, early), frequency (sometimes, rarely, often) or time related activities (after work, while talking to a friend).                                                                        

SUBJ PREDICATE ADJUNCT
NP VERB OPTIONAL ADVERB

Helen

runs.

runs

runs

(no adverb)

often.

in the afternoon.

Helen

teaches

teaches

teaches

physical education.

classes frequently.

classes daily.

She

listens

listens

listens

to a playlist.

to a playlist usually.

to a playlist as she runs.

ONGOING, CONTINUOUS, REPETITIVE

Present progressive (aspect) takes an internal experience view of how an activity relates to time —ongoing, continuous, or repetitive. The activity may be occurring: (1) temporarily "at the moment", (2) continuously "without stopping" or "with starts and stops". The timing may range, for example, from a second to a year, depending on how the speaker imagines his/her present time-frame.

SUBJ PREDICATE ADJUNCT
NP PROG. VERB ADVERB–TIME

Helen

is running

is improving¹

is running

outside right now. (ongoing)

her endurance. (continuous)

a six-mile route this year. (repetitive)

Helen

is attending

is taking

is learning

her math class today. (now)

a math class this semester. (repetitive)

a lot. (continuous)

Helen

is listening

is listening

is listening²

to her playlist at the moment. (now)

to an audiobook this week. (repetitive)

for her phone to ring. (continuous)

 Also see related pages: Present–At Moment | Past Progressive | Present Perfect Progressive.

¹present progressive and present perfect are similar but occur in slightly different contexts. Helen is improving her endurance. (ongoing, present context), Helen has improved her endurance. (ongoing, from the past and up to now) Helen has been improving her endurance. (ongoing, from the past and continuing to the future).  See Present Perfect: Up to Now, Present Perfect: State of Mind and Present Perfect: Ongoing vs. Completed.

²Some verbs have a meaning that expresses a short activity with a clear beginning and ending (punctual verbs); these are more likely to be repetitive. Other verbs have a meaning that expresses a timeless action (process verbs); these are more likely to be continuous. See Duration Expressed by Verb Meaning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Present Adverbs

Permanent – Temporary

 

 

 

Present Tense Adverbs

PRESENT –FACT, ROUTINE, HABITUAL

Adverbs for the present tense indicate a more permanent state and tell how often an activity occurs or is repeated. ¹Statements of fact or general truth rarely occur with adverbs.                                                                                                

EVERY ... FREQUENCY

every day  (night, week, month, year, etc.)

always (routinely, customarily, as a rule)

each day  (night, week, month, year, etc.)

usually (most of the time, in general, normally)

every other day  (night, week, year, etc.)

often (frequently, half of the time)

most weekends (nights, weeks, months, etc.) 

sometimes (occasionally, on occasion)

GENERAL TRUTH

general truth¹ (no adverb)

rarely (seldom, hardly ever, never, not ever)

 

never (not ever)

PRESENT PROGRESSIVE –ONGOING, CONTINUOUS, REPETITIVE

Adverbs for the present progressive indicate a more temporary state, at the moment of speaking. The focus is on the present time period, with a larger range of time, for example this month, and not on time that has passed.

NOW THIS ...

at the moment

today / tonight (word origin – this day, this night) 

now (for now, just now)

this morning

currently

this week

presently

this month

for a little while (for the time being)

this semester

as we speak

this year

*Also ee  Adverbs of Frequency    Adverbs of Time

 

 

 

 

► Show Grammar Notes? ▼ Hide Grammar Notes

Grammar Notes (Advanced)

Traditional and Linguistic Description

 

 

 

Traditional and Linguistic Description

TRADITIONAL / ESL DESCRIPTION LINGUISTIC DESCRIPTION

In traditional grammar, auxiliary verbs (linking verbs) are treated as auxiliary combinations with other verbs (verb groups). Verbs are "grouped". Aux Verb Diagrams 

Simple Present  "The simple present says that something was true in the past, is true in the present, and will be true in the future. It expresses general statements of fact and general truths." (Azar  2-1)

Present Progressive "The present progressive expresses an activity that is in progress at the moment of speaking. It is temporary activity that began in the past, is continuing at present, and will probably end at some pont in the future." (Azar 2-2)

Form: Be + -ing (present participle)  [No grammar term is given for "be".]

________________________

"simple present" or "present simple" — General Time: for permanent situations, or about things that happen regularly, repeatedly or all the time" (Swan 463)

"present progressive" or "present continuous" Around Now (1) temporary, continuing situations that are going on now or 'around now': before, during and after the moment of speaking; (2) repeated actions happening around the present. (3) developments and changes. (Swan 464)

Form: am / are / is + -ing

 

 In current linguistic analysis, auxiliaries are main verbs followed by gerund-participle or past participle verb forms in subordinated nonfinite clauses. In this example, the auxiliary is followed by a gerund-participle.  (Huddleston 104,1218) Also see Auxiliary Verb Form Types (progressive).

 

KELLOGG-REED PARSE DIAGRAM TREE DIAGRAM

Helen is jogging around the track.

Diagram: Helen is jogging around the track.     

 

Word Categories: N – Noun; V – Verb; Aux – Auxiliary; Adj – Adjective; Adv – Adverb; P –Preposition; Det –Determiner.

Phrasal Categories: NP – Noun Phrase; VP – Verb Phrase; AdjP – Adjective Phrase; AdvP – Adverb Phrase; PP – Prepositional Phrase; DP – Determinative Phrase.

Clausal Categories: Cls – clause; F – finite clause; NF – nonfinite clause (Ger – gerund; Inf – infinitive; PPart – past participle).

Word Functions: Subj – subject; Pred – predicate/predicator; Compcomplement: elements required by an expression to complete its meaning (DO – direct object; IO – indirect object);  Adjunctadjunct: elements not required by an expression to complete its meaning (Subord – subordinator; Coord – coordinator); Suplsupplement: a clause or phrase added onto a clause that is not closely related to the central thought or structure of the main clause.

 

 

References

  • Azar, Betty Schrampfer, and Stacy A. Hagen. Understanding and Using English Grammar. 4th ed., Pearson Education, 2009.
  • Huddleston, Rodney D., and Geoffrey K. Pullum. The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language. Cambridge UP, 2002.
  • Swan, Michael. Practical English Usage. 3rd ed., Oxford UP, 2005.

 

 

 

 

Practice 1

Changes in Habits

couch potato
 

Present or present progressive?

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" button to the right.

 

Paragraph 1

1.
 
 

compete (V) - take part in a sports competion  An athlete competes to win.

 

 

Paragraph 2

2.
 
 

skip (V) - to not do a usual habit or activity.

 

 

 

Paragraph 3

3.
 
 

 

 

Paragraph 4

4.
 
 

Related page: Stative Verbs – verbs that do not take the progressive tense  

 

 

Paragraph 5

5.
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 2

Laid Off!

Laid off
 

 

Present or present progressive?

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" button to the right.

 

Paragraph 6

6.
 
 
 

 

 

Paragraph 7

7.
 
 
 
 

Related page Time-Relative Events "until"