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2: Present Progressive

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    Learning Objectives

    At the end of this chapter you should be able to:

    Recognize and use the present progressive:

    • in the affirmative and negative
    • with contractions
    • with yes/no questions and short answers
    • with information questions using appropriate wh-question words
    • with time expressions
    • with the correct spelling


    Activity \(\PageIndex{1}\): Prereading 
    At Checkout Buying Groceries

    Directions: Look at the picture. What do you see? Write it down.

    Activity \(\PageIndex{2}\): Prereading

    Directions: Discuss the following questions with a partner.

    1. Where do you go grocery shopping?
    2. How often do you go grocery shopping?
    3. What do you buy at the grocery store?
    4. How do you get to the grocery store? Do you walk, go by car, or by bus?


    Directions: Read this story out loud with a partner. One person reads a paragraph, then the other person reads the next paragraph. When you are finished, read the story again. This time, read the paragraphs you did not read.

    Viktor and Tatiana Are Grocery Shopping

    Viktor and Tatiana are from Ukraine. They are married. They are students at Clackamas Community College, and they are taking ESL classes this term. They are studying English, so they can get jobs. They are not working now.

    Today, they need* to go to the grocery store. Right now, it is 3:00 pm. They are walking to the grocery store. It is raining hard. Viktor is holding an umbrella, so they are not getting wet.

    It is now 3:15 pm. They are shopping for food and talking about their English classes. Tatiana remembers, “Oh! We need* pencils and paper.” Viktor says, “I want* some erasers, too.”

    Now, at 3:45 pm, they are waiting in line at checkout. The man at the front of the line is writing a check. He is not paying cash. The baby in the cart behind them is crying.

    At 3:55 pm, it is their turn. They are buying food and school supplies. A young man is putting their groceries in paper bags. Tatiana is paying with cash. The cashier is giving them change and the receipt.

    It is 4:00 pm now. They are walking home. At this moment, it is not raining, and the sun is shining. They are smiling.


    Some verbs like “need” and “want” are called stative verbs. They show a state of being, not an action. Stative verbs are not used in the progressive tenses. You will learn more about stative verbs in Chapter 4.

    Activity \(\PageIndex{3}\): Comprehension

    Directions: Answer the questions about the story.

    1. Where are Viktor and Tatiana from? (Use the BE verb)
    2. Are they working this term? (choose one)
      • Yes, they are.
      • No, they aren’t.
    3. What are they studying?
    4. What are they doing at 3:00 pm?
    5. What is the weather like?
    6. Are they getting wet? (choose one)
      • Yes, they are.
      • No, they aren’t.
    7. What does Tatiana remember?
    8. What are they doing at 3:45 pm?
    9. Is the man paying cash? (chose one)
      • Yes, he is.
      • No, he isn’t.
    10. What are Viktor and Tatiana doing at 4:00 pm?


    Activity \(\PageIndex{4}\): Noticing

    Directions: Read the story again. Choose all uses of the present progressive. Then, write down three of the verbs used in the story.


    The present progressive tense has TWO parts: the auxiliary verb BE and the main verb plus "-ing".


    are taking

    Activity \(\PageIndex{5}\): Try It Out!

    Directions: Write three sentences using the verbs you found.


    Uses of the Present Progressive

    The present progressive is used to talk about an action or situation that is in progress and happening right now. It started in the past and is probably going to continue into the future. We often use time expressions (signal words) to show this: right now, at the/this moment, now.

    line graph showing that the action is happening right now

    I am learning grammar right now.

    It is happening at this moment.

    It also shows an action or situation that is continuing for a long period around the present time. There are many expressions that show this: this week, this month, this year, this term.


    I am taking English classes this term.

    It is happening for an extended period of time.

    The present progressive is also used to describe a change or temporary action.


    I usually drive to school. This week, I am taking the bus.

    Notice that the simple present is used to talk about a habit/routine. The present progressive shows that there is a temporary change.

    Time Expressions: Signals Words Used with the Present Progressive 

    We use time expressions to signal the time that the action is happening. Sometimes we call time expressions signal words.

    • at the/this moment
    • now
    • right now
    • this week/term/month

    At this moment, I am washing the dishes.

    My husband is watching a football game right now.


    Notice in the examples above that time expressions used with the present progressive can come at the beginning of a sentence or at the end of a sentence.

    Forms of the Present Progressive

    The present progressive is formed by an auxiliary (helping) verb and the main verb. The BE verb is the auxiliary for progressive tenses. It agrees with the subject (the person or thing that performs or completes the action of the verb; the “do-er”) and tells us that we are talking about the present time. The main verb changes by adding -ing to it. The -ing form of the main verb is called the present participle.

    To form the present progressive tense, you need two parts of the verb:

    auxiliary BE (am, is, are) + present participle (verb+ing)

    Auxiliary (Helping) Verb (BE) Present Participle: Main Verb + -ing
    am writing
    is sleeping
    are watching
    Activity \(\PageIndex{6}\): Writing

    Directions: Write three 3 sentences using the verbs in the table above and a time expression.

    Spelling: Present Participle

    Spelling in English can be difficult, but there are some rules to follow when forming the present participle.

    Rule 1: If the base verb ends in a consonant + 1 vowel + consonant (CVC), double the consonant before adding -ing: hit → hitting. If there are two vowels between the consonants, do NOT double the last consonant: rain → raining.

    Base Verb Present Participle
    hit hitting
    plan planning
    run running
    stop stopping
    swim swimming

    Rule 2: NEVER double the consonants w, x, or y (e.g., playing). The n is usually not doubled when verbs end in -en (e.g., happening).

    Rule 3: If the base verb ends in an -e, remove it before adding -ing.

    Base Verb Present Participle
    come coming
    ride riding
    dance dancing
    write writing
    leave leaving
    Activity \(\PageIndex{7}\): Complete the Table

    Directions: Change the base verbs to the present participle. Use the spelling rules to help you.

    Base Verb Present Participle
    take 1.
    study 2.
    get 3.
    wait 4.
    give 5.
    listen 6.
    sit 7.
    pay 8.
    shop 9.
    make 10.
    Activity \(\PageIndex{8}\): Fill-in-the-Blank

    Part 1 Directions: Complete the sentences with the correct form of the present progressive. Be sure and spell the verbs correctly as described above.


    The present progressive has TWO parts: auxiliary BE and the present participle (the main verb + ing).

    Viktor and Tatiana are new to the United States. They are students at Clackamas Community College. They (1. take)________ ESL classes this term. They (2. study)________ English, so they can get jobs. They love their classes. Right now, they (3. walk)________ to the grocery store. It (4. rain) ________ hard, so Viktor (5. hold)________ the umbrella to keep them dry.

    Part 2 Directions: Now go back and choose the time expressions. There are two.

    Activity \(\PageIndex{9}\): Writing

    Directions: Think about what you are doing right now. Work with a partner to write three sentences using the present progressive and time expressions. Every sentence should have a time expression. Check your spelling when you are done.

    Affirmative in the Present Progressive

    As noted above, we use the present progressive to talk about things happening now or around this time (extended time). The affirmative tense form is the BE verb + the present participle:

    subject + BE + present participle

    Subject Auxiliary BE Present Participle
    I am shopping.
    He/She/It is shopping.
    You/We/They are shopping.
    Activity \(\PageIndex{10}\): Complete the Table

    Directions: Look at the grammar table above and fill in the table below with the missing parts of the sentence.

    Subject Auxiliary BE Present Participle
    1. am learning. (learn)
    2. He is (work)
    3. She   walking. (walk)
    4. is raining. (rain)
    5. You are (read)
    6. We   sitting. (sit)
    7. are running. (run)

    Affirmative Contractions in the Present Progressive

    Contractions in the present progressive are formed just as we learned in Chapter 1. They are very common in spoken English.

    Subject Auxiliary BE Present Participle
    I'm shopping.
    Activity \(\PageIndex{11}\): Writing

    Directions: Take the sentences you completed in Activity \(\PageIndex{10}\) and write them on lined notebook paper using contractions. Then, write one (1) sentence of your own. Write your name, the date, and Activity \(\PageIndex{11}\) at the top of your paper.

    Activity \(\PageIndex{12}\): Writing

    Directions: Look at the pictures. Then, answer the questions using the words given to you. Change the verb to the present progressive. Use full forms for odd numbers and contractions for even numbers.

    1. What is the man doing?
      • he / make a grocery list
    man's hands writing on notepad wood plank table espresso coffee
    1. What is the man doing?
      • he / buy vegetables
    2 women working at farmer's market stand one hands bag to customer
    1. What is the woman doing?
      • she / look at pineapples
    Woman with cart shopping at supermarket
    1. What is the man doing?
      • he / compare prices
    Person looking at prices
    1. What is the woman doing?
      • she / wait for customers
    Supermarket checker standing next to check out station
    1. What is the man doing?
      • he / pay with a debit card
    Man's hand holding a debit card
    1. What is the man doing?
      • he / check his grocery list
    Man in supermarket looking at his list
    1. What are the people doing?
      • they / shop at the farmer’s market
    People shopping at a farmer's market
    1. What is the cashier doing?
      • she / smile at customers
    Supermarket cashier smiling
    1. What is the man doing?
      • he / walk down the aisle
    back of man as he walks down supermarket aisle
    Activity \(\PageIndex{13}\): Fill-in-the-Blank

    Directions: Complete the sentences with the present progressive form of the verb in parentheses.

    1. My son (come) _____________________________________ home from school now.
    2. Right now, I (write) ________ this sentence.
    3. At the moment, my wife (sit) ________ on the sofa.
    4. They (buy) ________ groceries at the market now.
    5. This term, we (study) ________ the present progressive tense.
    6. The girl (do) ________ her homework in the living room.
    7. You (think) ___________________________ about grammar as you do this exercise.
    8. The people at this party (wear) ________ beautiful clothes.
    9. He (sing) ________ a song in the shower now.
    10. This year, my son (play) ________ the violin.
    11. The woman (feed) ________ her cat.
    12. They (give) ________ a reward to the brave man.
    13. The boys (draw) ________ pictures in their notebooks.
    14. I (carry) ________ my books to class right now.
    15. It (rain) ________ very hard at the moment.
    16. We (listen) ________ to the radio right now.
    17. You (answer) ________ these questions now.
    18. The dog (chew) ________ a shoe now.
    19. The boy’s mother (feel) ________ sick today.
    20. The students (buy) ________ paper this week.

    Negative Statements in the Present Progressive

    To make a sentence negative with the present progressive, add not between the auxiliary verb (BE) and the present participle (main verb + ing).

    subject + auxiliary BE + not + present participle

    Subject Auxiliary BE Not Present Participle
    I am not shopping.
    Activity \(\PageIndex{14}\): Complete the Table

    Directions: Complete the table. Write the correct verb form for the negative sentences.


    The auxiliary verb must agree with the subject of the sentence.

    Subject am not / is not / are not Rest of Sentence
    I   watching TV right now.
    Activity \(\PageIndex{15}\): Writing

    Directions: Change the affirmative statements to the negative by adding not.

    1. Viktor is working.
    2. Tatiana is learning Japanese.
    3. It is raining.
    4. They are buying a TV.
    5. The sun is shining.
    6. Tatiana is paying with a debit card.

    Negative Contractions in the Present Progressive

    Subject Auxiliary BE Not Present Participle
    I'm   not shopping.
    • He's
    • She's
    • (It's)
    • He
    • She
    • (It)
    • You're
    • We're
    • They're
    • You
    • We
    • They
    Activity \(\PageIndex{16}\): Writing

    Directions: Answer the following questions in the negative. Use complete sentences. Use contractions.


    Is she shopping right now? No, she isn’t shopping right now.

    1. Are you riding the bus right now?
    2. Is he taking 5 classes this term?
    3. Are they waiting at the restaurant now?
    4. Is it snowing in Portland today?
    5. Are you biting an apple now?
    6. Is class beginning right now?
    7. Am I driving my car right now?
    8. Are we going to the movies today?
    9. Is Chela feeding her cats right now?
    10. Is the sun shining in Milwaukie today?

    Yes/No Questions & Short Answers 


    The subject and the verb change places in questions. The auxiliary verb comes first!

    Chart showing that you invert the auxiliary and the subject to form a question.
    Auxiliary BE Subject Present Participle Short Answers
    Am I shopping?
    • Yes, you are.
    • No, I’m not.
    • he
    • she
    • (it)
    • Yes, he is.
    • No, he’s not.
    • you
    • we
    • they
    • Yes, they are.
    • No, they’re not.
    Activity \(\PageIndex{17}\): Fill-in-the-Blank

    Directions: Make yes/no questions in the present progressive. First, choose a subject. Second, put the verb in parentheses in the present progressive form. Then, finish answering the question with a short answer.


    Are you feeling (feel) OK? No, I’m not.

    1. ________ ________ ________ (go) to the grocery store? No, ________ ________.
    2. ________ ________ ________ (take) English classes? Yes, ________ ________.
    3. ________ ________ ________ (feed) the dog? No, ________ ________.
    4. ________ ________ ________ (do) homework? Yes, ________ ________.
    5. ________ ________ ________ (eat) at home? No, ________ ________.
    6. ________ ________ ________ (drive) to the market? Yes, ________ ________.
    7. ________ ________ ________ (watch) a movie? No, ________ ________.
    8. ________ ________ ________ (make) dinner? Yes, ________ ________.
    9. ________ ________ ________ (buy) a ticket? No, ________ ________.
    10. ________ ________ ________ (pay) with cash? Yes, ________ ________.
    Activity \(\PageIndex{18}\): Game

    Directions: Your instructor will give you a card, and put you in groups. Act out what is shown on the card for your team. Your team members will guess what you are doing by asking a question in the present progressive. For example, they will ask, “Are you washing dishes?” If they guess correctly, you will say, “Yes, I am.” If they are incorrect, you will say, “No, I’m not,” and they can guess again.

    Information Questions in the Present Progressive

    The formation of information questions is the same as yes/no questions. Add the question word (e.g. who, where, what, why, when, how) to the beginning of the question.

    wh- + auxiliary BE + subject + present participle

    Wh- Question Word Auxiliary
    Subject Present Participle
    Why am I shopping?
    Where is he
    When are you
    Activity \(\PageIndex{19}\): Listening

    Directions: Your instructor is going to read some questions. Write what you hear on the lines.

    1. ________
    2. ________
    3. ________ a nap?
    4. ________ to school?
    5. ________ home?
    6. ________
    Activity \(\PageIndex{20}\): Fill-in-the-Blank

    Directions: Read the phone conversations between Viktor and Tatiana. Look at the answer and the words in parentheses to complete the questions. Don’t forget to add a question mark (?) at the end. When you are done, practice the dialogues with your partner.

    Conversation 1:

    Tatiana: (what / you / do)


    Viktor: I’m cutting out coupons.

    Tatiana: (why / you / cut out coupons)


    Viktor: I want to save money at the grocery store.

    Conversation 2:

    Viktor: (what / you / do)


    Tatiana: I’m making dinner.

    Viktor: (what / you / make)


    Tatiana: I’m making cabbage soup.

    Viktor: Great! I’m hungry!

    Conversation 3:

    Viktor: (what / you / do)


    Tatiana: I’m studying.

    Viktor: (where / you / study)


    Tatiana: I’m studying at the library right now.


    Activity \(\PageIndex{21}\): Listening

    Directions: Read the paragraph. Then, listen to your instructor read the paragraph. Listen for the missing words. Write the missing words on the lines.

    Ana and Pedro want to have a picnic. They (1) ________ to a nice park by the river. They (2) ________ the warm weather today. Now, they (3) ________ a blanket on the grass to sit on. Also, they (4) ________ the food on the blanket. A few minutes later, Pedro (5) ________ photos with his phone. Ana asks, “Why (6) ________ so many photos?” “I (7) ________ them to Mom. She misses us,” he replies. “Yes, I miss her, too,” says Ana. They (8) ________ to music, and they (9) ________ about their mom’s cooking.


    Add texts here. Do not delete this text first.

    Activity \(\PageIndex{22}\): Error Connection

    Directions: There are 8 mistakes in the paragraph below. Find the mistakes with the present progressive and correct them. The mistakes can be missing verb parts, word order, or verb agreement.


    The present progressive has two parts: the auxiliary BE and the present participle.

    My name is Carlos. Right now I sitting in class. I am learn about grammar. The teacher talk about the present progressive. She is not talk about the simple present. Maria and Lourdes listening. Why Tan’s cell phone is ringing? Outside, a few students is playing soccer. Mohammad watch them.

    Activity \(\PageIndex{23}\): Fill-in-the-Blank

    Directions: Fill in the present progressive verb form for each sentence or question.

    1. We (study) ________ grammar this quarter.
    2. My son (not drive) ________ to the supermarket right now.
    3. It (rain) ________ now.
    4. The boy and his friends (walk) ________ to the store to buy some milk.
    5. I (not listen) ________ to the radio at this time.
    6. My daughters (not take) ________ guitar lessons today.
    7. I (not plant) ________ tomatoes in my garden now.
    8. The sun (shine) ________ today.
    9. Students (learn) ________ the present progressive tense now.
    10. (look) ________ she ________ for her key?
    11. How (do) ________ they ________?
    12. (cook) ________ we ________ for twelve or fourteen people?
    13. What (make) ________ you ________ for dinner tonight?
    14. Where (study) ________ the student ________ today?
    15. The baseball player (not play) ________ in the game today.
    16. The boy and girl (not help) ________ their mom clean today.
    17. (watch) ________ you ________ television right now?
    18. Why (eat) ________ he ________ right now?
    19. (look) ________ the students ________ at them right now?
    20. He (work) ________ now.


    Directions: Write a paragraph about your morning activities using the present progressive tense.


    • Use your own 8.5″ x 11″ lined paper. Do not use other paper sizes, please.
    • Heading: Put your full name, the due date, and Chapter 2 Writing Assignment at the top of your paper. Your instructor will tell you where the heading goes (left or right side).
    • Indent the first sentence, skip lines (double space), and leave a 1-inch margin on the sides and bottom.

    Writing and Grammar:

    • First sentence: Begin writing by using this topic sentence: It is morning, and I am doing many things.
    • Imagine that it is morning time. Write a paragraph about things you are doing and things you are not doing in the morning.
    • Write 5 affirmative sentences using the present progressive.
    • Write 5 negative sentences using the present progressive.
    • Use full forms; do not use contractions.
    • Use capital letters and punctuation correctly.
    • Use the rubric below to check your work.

    Assignment Rubric:

    Heading: Full Name, Due Date, and Ch. 2 Writing Assignment 1 point
    Format: Indent, double space, margins 1 point
    Every sentence has a subject and verb & they agree 1 point
    There are 5 affirmative sentences using the present progressive 5 points
    There are 5 negative sentences using the present progressive 5 points
    Correct use of spelling 1 point
    Correct use of capital letters 1 point
    Correct end punctuation 1 point
    Total points 16

    Model Paragraph:

    My Morning Activities

    It is morning and I am doing many things. I am drinking coffee. I am not drinking tea. I am watching the news. I am taking a shower. I am getting dressed. I am not ironing my clothes. I am cooking breakfast. Now I am washing the breakfast dishes. I am not washing the car. I am leaving for work. I am not going to the gym. I am not taking a vacation.


    These were our goals at the beginning of Chapter 2:

    Recognize and use the present progressive:

    • in the affirmative and negative
    • with contractions
    • with yes/no questions and short answers
    • with information questions using appropriate wh-question words
    • with time expressions
    • with the correct spelling

    Directions: Choose “yes” or “no” in the table below if you think you have achieved the goals. Write an example of the goal in the last column.

    I can... I achieved this goal: My example:
    write affirmative sentences. yes


    I am studying.
    write negative sentences. yes


    use contractions. yes


    write yes/no questions. yes


    answer yes/no questions using short answers. yes


    write information questions using wh- question words. yes


    use time expressions. yes


    use correct spelling. yes


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