What is the progressive tense?


In grammar, verb tense means time. Having knowledge of a language's verb tense means to have mastered the various tense forms and know how to make them and apply them correctly.


  • English does not have a progressive tense. Progressive is a form of the present, past and future tenses.

The Present Tense

  • The present tense shows action that is occurring now. It also represents habitual action. Examples: We expect to see him today. We walk three miles every day.

The Progressive Form

  • Sometimes continuing action needs to be shown. The progressive form of the present tense does just that. To make the progressive form of the present tense, "ing" is added to the verb that necessitates using a helping verb with it. For example: We are expecting to see him today. We are walking three miles every day. I am walking three miles a day. I am expecting to see him today. He is walking three miles a day. He is expecting to see him today.

The Six Tenses of English

  • The six actual verb tenses of English are: present, past, future, present perfect, past perfect and future perfect. Each has a progressive form, indicating ongoing action; and each has a perfect progressive form, indicating ongoing action that will be completed at some definite time.


  • Knowing verbs well provides a foundation for knowing how to speak and how to write correctly--both desirable skills for life and work. Using grammar correctly shows others that you are well schooled and committed to excellent language use.


  • Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of F Delventhal
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