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Progressive Forms

Progressive Forms :

In addition to the tense-forms already described, verbs have so-called
progressive forms .

The progressive form of a tense represents the action of the verb as going on or continuing at the time referred to.

1. I ate my dinner.

2. I was eating my dinner.

3. While I was quietly reading by my fireside, strange things were taking place in the square.

Both ATE and WAS EATING are in the past tense. But ATE merely expresses a past action, whereas WAS EATING describes this action as continuing or in progress in past time.

The progressive form is a verb-phrase made by prefixing to the present participle some form of the verb to be.

Progressive Form

Active Voice………Present Tense


1. 1. I am striking. ……….1. We are striking.

2. 2. Thou art striking. ………2. You are striking.

3. 3. He is striking. ………3. They are striking.

So in the other tenses:

Past : I was striking, etc.

Future : I shall be striking, etc.

Perfect : I have been striking, etc.

Pluperfect : I had been striking, etc.

Future Perfect : I shall have been striking, etc.

Passive Voice

Present : I am being struck, etc.

Past : I was being struck, etc.

In the passive, the progressive forms are confined to the present and the past tense.

1. He is being helped by his brother. [Present.]

2. I am being trained by Arthur Ray. [Present.]

3. When I called, tea was being served. [Past.]

In subordinate clauses, the verb is (in its various forms) with its subject is often omitted in progressive phrases.

1. While waiting for the train, I bought a newspaper. [That is, While I was waiting.]

2. Though [he was] swimming vigorously, he could not stem the tide.

3. When [I am] reading, I like to have the light shine over my left shoulder.

In parsing, the omitted words should be supplied.

Progressive Forms :

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