Glossary: progressive



The progressive (also known as the continuous) form of a verb generally describes events in progress. It is formed by combining the verb’s present participle (e.g. singing) with a form of the verb be (e.g. he was singing).

  • Michael is singing in the store room. [present progressive]
  • Amanda was making a patchwork quilt. [past progressive]

The progressive can also be combined with the perfect (e.g. he has been singing).

  • Usha had been practising for an hour when I called. [past perfect progressive]

The progressive construction conveys aspect, in that it indicates that a situation is viewed as an ongoing process.

Verb images

This lesson asks students to think about tense and aspect, what they mean, and how else we can communicate those meanings.


  • Identify verb tense and aspect. 
  • Explain the meaning of verb tense and aspect. 
  • Use multimodal literacy skills to present information from words as pictures. 

Lesson Plan

The teacher explains that today, we will be describing some pictures using language, and then drawing some pictures to describe language.

Verb images: Activity

The girls are rehearsing a song.

Several boys were playing football.

Sally has studied French for three years.

John has been studying French for one hour.


Perfect or progressive aspect?

Decide whether the highlighted verb phrase is perfect aspect or progressive aspect?


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