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.


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