The present progressive tense

English grammar (See all)

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The present progressive tense

The present progressive (auxiliary verb be + verb ending in -ing) is used to express a current action, an action in progress or an unfinished action:
The children are sleeping right now.

It is often used for descriptions:
Polly is wearing nice shoes today.
The jaguar is lying on a tree branch.

The present progressive also allows us to express a future action or an intention, mainly with the expression to be going to:
We are going to count the votes this afternoon. We will count the votes this afternoon.
Are you going to accept the proposal? Will you accept the proposal? Do you plan to accept the proposal?
Bruno is not seeing anybody today. Bruno will not see anybody today.

It can also be used with modal auxiliary verbs:
They should be sleeping by now.

The use of the present progressive is the opposite of that of the present simple, which is used:
•  for permanent truths (Christmas falls on December 25th.)
•  to express habits (Kevin plays golf every Saturday.)
•  for announcements (The President announces a tax increase.)


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