Monday, July 15, 2013

The Present Progressive also has FOUR uses!!

I bet that you didn't know that the Present Progressive also has FOUR uses!

The form of the Present Progressive can be confusing to students of English.  The verb is made up of two words, the form of the verb "To Be" according to the person, I am , He is, She is, It is, Mr. Jones is, You are, We are, They are. Then you add the action verb in the present tense and the "ing" at the end.

In a formula:  To Be (is, am, are) + verb+ing

The word "is" can be used as a contraction as well.  He's, She's  Example: She's sleeping. This is a full sentence in the Present Progressive!

Example:  She is eating now.  He's reading a book

Uses of the Present Progressive!

Something that is happening NOW

In the first usage, we tend to think about the Present Progressive as something that is happening now.

He is reading now.  You can't read a book in one minute.  It takes a bit of time. Even a children's picture book takes time to read aloud to the child.

We can use this also to talk about something that is NOT happening now.
I am not reading a book, I am writing a blog post!
She is not eating, she's drinking.

When I want to ask a question, I can ask:  Is it raining?  I move the helping verb "is" to the beginning of the sentence, and I add the question mark at the end.

Actions that take a longer period of time.

In the first usage, we think about an action that takes a bit of time, but it is conceptually in the present.
In this usage, we think of long term actions that may in fact take years.

Examples: " He is studying to be an accountant."  This is a long term course of study and it usually takes 5-7 years to become a CPA! (Certified Public Accountant), Yet I use the Present Progressive to talk about it!

I am writing a book.  - We use the Present Progressive  for this sentence because it might take up to a year to write a best-selling novel.  This is a long time, it is a work in process.  I wrote my book:   How to Touch Type in English by Rachael Alice Orbach in two months.  Ok, it wasn't a year but it was a fair amount of time, I worked on it every day!  I also was teaching the method to a student while I was writing, so I made many important changes in the book while I was writing.

Near Future

This use is similar to the familiar "Going to" that can be used to signify the Future tense.

In fact "Going to" is an example of this use of the Present Progressive!


I am flying to Paris next week.  - Why do we know that this signifies the near Future Tense?  Because of the time expression  "next week."

We are going to have a party tonight.  - Tonight is our time expression, meaning the party will happen in few hours.

Are they coming for the holidays?  The holidays will take place in the near future.  I make this a question by moving the helping  verb "are" to the front of the sentence.

Isn't she studying for her chemistry test tonight? - I can also ask the question in the negative, and I use the contraction because this is the way that people really speak!

Actions that always happen.

This use of the Present Progressive have to do with actions that happen all the time.  It is similar to the Present Simple tense, in this sense.

He is always losing his keys.  The "always" or "constantly" are put between the helping verb "to be" and the action verb+ing.

She is constantly interrupting when the teacher talks.

They are always getting lost on the way to parties.

I don't like him because he is always smoking in my house.

Adverb placement.
You can also put an adverb to describe the action, it also goes between the helping verb (is am are) and the verb+ing.

She is only teaching English this year.
We are never drinking and driving.
I am still writing that book!

When I ask a question, I move the helping verb (is, am, are) to the beginning of the sentence, and then I add the adverb right before the verb+ing.

Are you still reading :"Lord of the Rings?"
Is he never going to finish that project?

Good luck on Learning the Present Progressive!

If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me
Rachael Alice Orbach
052-7500608 send sms please!רחלאורבך

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