Grammar Guide: Progressive Tenses

Everybody is getting excited about the Academy Awards happening later this month. The Academy Awards feature and celebrate some of the previous years best movies. They recognize leading and supporting actors and actresses, directory and producers, special effects, music, and many more categories. This year is the 84th year that the Academy Awards have been announced. These awards mark one of the biggest parties in Hollywood.

Progressive Tenses
The progressive aspect of English verbs shows that an action is in progress at the time of another event. Both events could occur in the past, present, or future. This aspect also emphasizes that the action was happening/is happening/will be happening over time.

We form the progressive by using a form of BE + the present participle.

Present Progressive
The present progressive can express event in progress in the present time in two ways:
1. An action or situation happening right this moment.
  • Shh! We are watching a movie! 
  • I am trying to hear what the actors are saying.
  • Right now, we are writing the script while our other team members are setting up the scene.
2. An action or situation currently happening in general.
  • This two-week block we are studying the theme film
  • They are currently filming the next Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises.
Past Progressive
The past progressive expresses an event in progress in the past. It is common to express an action in the simple past that interrupts an action in the past progressive.
  • While I was sitting in the movie theater, my phone rang.
  • We were writing the script for our film when class ended
Future Progressive
The future progressive expresses an event in progress in the future. It is common to express a future action that interrupts an action in the future progressive. The action or situation in the time clause must be expressed in the present tense.
  • My friends will start watching the movie at 8 p.m. I don't get off work until 9 p.m. My friends will be watching the movie when I arrive.
  • Our movie group will film our project all day on Saturday. Jamie has to be at work at noon. While we are filming our project, Jamie will leave for work.
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