Future Progressive Tense

When to use Future Progressive

The Future Progressive Tense refers to an action that will be in progress at a certain point in tie in the future. The focus of progressive tenses is on the continuity of the action, therefore, Future Progressive often refers to an unfinished action.

  • Projecting ongoing events to a specific point in time in the future
    The Jetsons will be joining us for dinner tonight.
    This time next week they will be sitting on the plane.
    I’ll be staying with local host families in China.
    He’ll still be working on his assignment in an hour.
  • Predictions about the future
    I’ll be missing you so much when you leave.
    You’ll be living on the streets if you don’t get a job soon.
  • Asking about plans in the future
    Will you be bringing your girlfriend to the party?
    Will she be attending the evening classes?
    Will I be driving with you to the park?

Structure of Simple Future Tense

Subject + will + be + Progressive Participle of Main Verb+ Object

The Future Progressive Tense puts the progressive aspect in a future form. As in the Simple Future Tense, future is expressed by the auxiliary verb ‘will’ that must be followed by a verb in bare infinitive. Remember that ‘will’ doesn’t need to be conjugated. To express progression, we’ll need the auxiliary verb ‘to be’ in first form which is ‘be’. Similarly to other progressive tenses, the action verb will follow ‘to be’ in progressive participle form.

I will be sleeping
You will be sleeping
He / She / It will be sleeping
We will be sleeping
You will be sleeping
They will be sleeping

Note that there’s no Future Progressive form of the verb ‘to be’:
I will be being sick. → I will be sick.

Take a look at where Future Progressive is in the Verb Tenses Table:

If you need a reminder on how to spell the -ing forms correctly, click here.

Making the Future Progressive Tense negative

As in case of Simple Future Tense, the negative form is created by combining ‘will’ and ‘not’ to ‘won’t’. The rest of the structure stays unchanged. Remember to use the short version in an informal and the long version in formal context. The negative of Future Progressive is formed as follows:

Subject + won’t / will not + be + Progressive Participle of Main Verb

Examples:
I won’t be sleeping when you come home.
She won’t be driving with us.
We won’t be reviewing any grammar during class today.

Yes/No questions in Future Progressive

In the English language, questions are usually formed by switching the (first) auxiliary verb and the subject. For example:

She can speak English. → Can she speak English?

The same logic applies in Future Progressive, as ‘will’ is also a modal verb like ‘can’ in the above-mentioned example. Just switch ‘will’ and the subject.

No, I will be watching TV. → Will you be walking the dog when I come home?
You will be helping me with the laundry. 
→ Will you be helping me with the laundry?
This song will be playing in the background during the wedding. →
Will this song be playing at the wedding?

Open-ended questions in Future Progressive

To form open-ended questions, simply put the question word to the beginning of the sentence. The word order folowing the question word remains tha same as in case of yes/no questions. For example:

What will you be doing when I come home?
What will I be doing?
What song will be playing in the background?

Typical adverbs of the Future Progressive Tense

Tomorrow / tonight etc, at (6) pm/am/o’clock, next week / year, still, on Monday / Tuesday etc.

Note that in time clauses beginning with while, when, before, after, if and unless, the correct form of the verb is in present tense.

Some examples:
I’ll be making dinner when you come home.
Will you be coming to class on Thursday?
I’ll be hanging out alone unless you join me.
What will you be doing this time next week?
Mom will be cleaning up while you finish studying.

 

Past Progressive Tense

When to use Past Progressive

Past Progressive describes past actions that were happening at a given time. It can also refer to a longer action in the past that was interrupted by another event. This interruption can be real or just an interruption in time. Use Past Progressive when focus is on the continuity of the action in the past, not the regularity or the result.

  • Past actions in progress at a given point in time
    I was watching TV last night.
    At 2 am, I was still watching this new TV show.
  • Interruption in time or real interruption
    Note that the interrupting event is always in Simple Past.
    Mom was still working as a teacher when I was
    They were training for the race when the accident happened.
  • Parallel actions in time
    I was having a great time while we were playing card games.
    What were you doing while you were standing in line?
    The kids were sitting on the bus and singing songs.
  • Annoyance of repeated actions
    She was always biting her nails while we were talking.
    Why were you always arriving late to class?
    Our neighbor was always complaining about her allergy during spring time.

Structure of Past Progressive

Subject + was / were + Progressive Participle of Main Verb + Object

The Past Progressive Tense puts the progressive aspect in the past. The auxiliary verb expressing progression ‘to be’ needs to be in simple past form agreeing with the subject: ‘was’ or ‘were’. The action verb follows the auxiliary verb in progressive participle as in all progressive tenses.

Some examples:
I was studying when I heard the noise.
Who was driving the car?
They were hiking the same trail as we were.

Do you remember the spelling rules of -ing forms? You can review them here.

Some verbs cannot be used in progressive tenses. Go back to the list for a quick revision.

Take a look at where Simple Past is in the Verb Tenses Table:

Making the Past Progressive Tense negative

To form negative sentences in Past Progressive Tense, simply add ‘not’ to the auxiliary verb ‘was / or were’. The short forms of negative are ‘wasn’t / weren’t’. The action verb in progressive participle stays unchanged. The negative of Past Progressive is formed as follows:

S + wasn’t / weren’t + Ving + O

Remember to use the short version in everyday language and the long version in a formal, written context.

Examples:
I wasn’t hanging out with them last night.
She wasn’t sleeping at 2 am.
The employees weren’t doing a good job.

Yes/no questions in Past Progressive

To form questions, switch the auxiliary verb ‘was/were’ with the subject. For example:

Were you hanging out with them last night?
Was she sleeping at 2 am?
Were the employees doing a good job?

Open-ended questions in Past Progressive

To form open-ended questions, simply put the question word to the beginning of the sentence. The word order folowing the question word remains tha same as in case of yes/no questions. For example:

Where were you going last night?
Who were they talking to on the phone?
What was I thinking?!

Signaling words of Past Progressive

The time of interrupting event or action can be expressed by both an adverb or a clause. The most commonly used clauses are ‘when’ and ‘while’ that express continuity the following way:

They were chatting on Skype when her computer shot down.

While she was taking the kids to the playground, I was getting a haircut.

Common adverbs of Simple Past can also be used with Past Progressive:

Yesterday, last night / week / year, at (2) o’clock, at (5) pm, for … hours, for a long time

For example:
I was writing my thesis for ages.
She was laying on the couch all afternoon.
Were you joining them at the club last night?

 

Present Progressive Tense

When to use Present Progressive Tense

Progressive tenses generally refer to only a given moment in time, not a whole period. Whereas Simple tenses usually cover a longer period, expressing repeated events and regularity. In case of progressive tenses, the speaker doesn’t want to express regularity or general facts. The focus is on the action that takes place at that given moment.

These actions are usually unfinished and incomplete. For example, expressing that someone is in the progress of preparing for an exam is done by using the Present Progressive Tense.
She is studying for an exam.

However, when she finished all preparations, knows the material and is ready to take the exam, you will have to use the Present Perfect Tense.
She has studied for an exam.

  • Ongoing actions at a given moment
    Dad’s watching a soccer game in the living room.
    She’s dancing like crazy to this song.
  • Ongoing actions during a given period
    Are you still working out so much?
    I’m traveling in Asia till the summer.
  • For future plans
    She is arriving on Monday from Bali.
    We are joining the advanced group next semester.
  • To express annoyance of a repeated action
    My boyfriend is constantly playing with video games.
    My parents are always arguing with me.

!! Note that some verbs cannot be used in progressive tenses. To review these, check out our overview post about progressive tenses.

Review how Present Progressive compares to other tenses with the help of the following table:

present progressive

Structure of Present Progressive Tense

Subject + conjugated form of ‘to be’ + Progressive Participle of Main Verb + Object

The Present Progressive Tense uses a compound verb that consists of the conjugated form of ‘to be’ and the progressive participle of the main verb. Note that ‘to be’ is the auxiliary verb in this tense that needs to be in correct form to agree with the subject. The action verb gets an -ing ending the following way:

  • If the verb ends in an ‘e’, drop the ‘e’ and add the -ing
    E.g. live → living
    have → having
    give → giving
  • If the one-syllable verb ends in a consonant + vowel + consonant, double the last letter and add -ing. However, there is no need to double the last letter if the verb ends in ‘w’, ‘x’ or ‘y’ because the emphasis is not on the final consonant.
    E.g. get → getting
    step → stepping
    knit → knitting
  • If the verb ends in ‘ie’, change the ending to ‘ying’.
    E.g. lie → lying
    die → dying
  • If the verb ends in a vowel + ‘r’ and the stress in on the last vowel, the ‘r’ is usually doubled.
    E.g. refer → referring
    prefer → preferring

 

Making the Present Progressive Tense negative

In the English language, negative forms of verbs are usually formed by an auxiliary verb and ‘not’. For example: She may not go out tonight. In the Present Progressive Tense, the verb ‘to be’ serves as an auxiliary verb, therefore, ‘not’ is added to ‘to be’. The negative of Present Progressive Tense is formed as follows:

Subject + conjugated form of ‘to be’ + not + Progressive Participle of Main Verb

‘To be’ and ‘not’ can be combined in informal language to a short form the following way:
is not → isn’t
are not → aren’t

Notice that there is no short negative form of ‘I am’. The correct form is ‘I’m not’. Remember to use the short form only in an informal environment. In a formal written context, always use the full form.

Examples:
We aren’t making fun of you.
She isn’t joining us at the party.
I’m not dating anyone at the moment.

Yes/No questions in Present Progressive Tense

In the English language, questions are usually formed by switching the (first) auxiliary verb and the subject. For example:

She can speak English. → Can she speak English?

In Present Progressive Tense, the conjugated form of ‘to be’ is switched with the subject to form a question, followed by the -ing form of the verb.  For example:

I’m coming to the movies. → Are you coming to the movies?
Dad isn’t driving me to school this morning. → Isn’t dad driving you to school this morning?

Open-ended questions in Present Progressive Tense

In case of open-ended questions, always start with the questions word. After the questions word, follow the usual word order for questions: auxiliary verb – subject – main verb – object -etc. The auxiliary verb in Present Progressive is am/is/are, followed by the subject and the progressive participle (-ing form) of the action verb. For example,

Kate’s having an avocado toast for breakfast today. → What is she having for breakfast today?
Mom is cooking goulash for lunch. –> What is mom cooking for lunch? Who is cooking goulash for lunch? What is mom cooking goulash for?

Typical adverbs of Present Progressive Tense

today, at present, at the moment, still, now, right now, this morning / this evening etc., nowadays, these days

Some examples:

I’m having pizza for lunch today.
I’m craving pizza at the moment.
I’m still thinking about that pizza we had last night.
I’m going to this new pizzeria now.
I’m meeting my friends for pizza this evening.
I’m not eating much pizza these days.

Overview of Perfect Progressive Tenses

What is the perfect progressive aspect

The perfect progressive aspect combines the perfect and progressive aspects. The progressive aspect allows the speaker to express an action that is unfinished or in progress. The perfect aspect refers to an an unfinished action that started in the past and is still happening in the present. Combining the two, the perfect progressive aspect expresses actions that started in the past, are still happening in the present and the focus is on the continuity of the action. For example, if you want to say that you started dating your boyfriend a long time ago and you’re still seeing him, that’s a perfect opportunity to use perfect progressive:

I’ve been dating my boyfriend for a long time. focus is on the fact that they are still together

The same logic is true in past and future tenses. Past perfect usually expresses an action prior to another action. If you use Past Perfect Progressive, it will mean that something that started in the distant past was still happening when the other event happened. For example,

We had been dating for a long time when we go married. → focus is on the fact that dating started earlier and was still going on when they got married

Undisputedly, Future Perfect Progressive is not the most common tense, but it is not very complicated once you understand the logic behind. If you want to say that an action will start earlier but will still be going on when another event happens, that’s Future Perfect Progressive’s time to shine! Let’s look at an example.

I will have been dating him for 10 years when I’ll finally walk down the aisle. → focus is on the continuity of dating in the future at a given moment which is the wedding in this example

General structure of Perfect Progressive Tenses

The structure of Perfect Progressive Tenses combines the auxiliary verbs of both perfect and progressive tenses. The auxiliary verb ‘to have’ expresses perfection which is followed by ‘been’, the third form of ‘to be’, and the progressive participle of the main verb.

S + conjugated form of ‘to have’ + been + Progressive Participle of Main Verb + O

The auxiliary verb ‘to have’ needs to be modified according to which tense we need: present, past or future. Note that you only need to change ‘to have’; ‘been’ and the -ing form of the action verb always stay the same.

Take a look at the highlighted area to see the correct form of perfect progressive verbs in each tense:

For a detailed explanation and usage, check out the individual page of each Perfect Progressive Tense here:
Present Perfect Progressive Tense
Past Perfect Progressive Tense
Future Perfect Progressive Tense

Verbs that are usually not used in Progressive Tenses
(Non-continuous Verbs)

Some verbs that express states and not actions or processes cannot be used in Progressive Tenses. The easiest way to decide if you can use a verb in progressive form is to ask yourself if you can see somebody doing it. If you cannot see someone doing it, stick to Simple Tenses. The verbs usually express something abstract such as emotions, opinion or possession.

  • Senses / Perception: to feel, to hear, to see, to smell, to taste
  • Opinions / beliefs: to assume, to believe, to consider, to doubt, to feel (=to think), to find (=to consider), to suppose, to think*
    *‘To think’ cannot be used in a progressive tense if it expresses opinion. However, if it expresses the action of someone thinking about something without any result, it can be used in Progressive Tenses.
  • Mental states: to forget, to imagine, to know, to mean, to notice, to recognize, to remember, to understand
  • Emotions: to envy, to fear, to dislike, to hate, to hope, to like, to love, to mind, to prefer, to regret, to want, to wish
  • Measurement: to contain, to cost, to hold, to measure, to weigh
  • Others: to look (=to resemble), to seem, to be (in most cases), to have (=to own)

Exceptions
Some verbs have a different meaning in Progressive and Simple Tenses. Make sure to note these when forming sentences or translating them.

  • This massage feels nice. → perception of the massage’s quality
  • Franz is feeling sick from the salad. → his health is currently affected by the salad
  • My neighbor has 20 cats. → expressing ownership
  • I’m having a great time with you. → being entertained, feeling good
  • You can’t see the London Eye from here. → perception
  • I’m seeing my mom later during the week. → planning on meeting

 

Overview of Progressive Tenses

What is the progressive aspect

The progressive aspect allows the speaker to express an action that is unfinished or in progress. They generally refer to an action in a given moment, not regularity. The aim of the speaker is to refer to an action that is ongoing at a given moment. It can also be used to describe an action withing a given time frame.

For example:
She is playing with her phone during the break.
The professor was explaining the solution when the bell rang.
I was walking home when it started raining.

How to use the progressive aspect

If you have decided to use progressive aspect, the next step is to decide which tense to put the verb into. The progressive aspect can be used in all three tenses: present, past and future. In each tense, you must use the auxiliary verb of Progressive Tenses in the correct tense.

General structure of Progressive Tenses

S + conjugated form of ‘to be’ + Progressive Participle of Main Verb + O

Progressive Tenses use ‘to be’ as an auxiliary verb that must be followed by the progressive participle of the main verb. Remember that ‘to be’ needs to agree with the subject at all times. Note that ‘to be’ is always followed by the -progressive participle of the main verb in progressive tenses to express continuity. You may see ‘to be’ followed by the past participle of the verb which is used in Passive Voice that is not a tense.

Take a look at the highlighted area to see the correct form of progressive verbs in each tense:

progressive

For a detailed explanation and usage, check out the individual page of each Progressive Tense here:
Present Progressive
Past Progressive
Future Progressive

Verbs that are usually not used in Progressive Tenses
(Non-continuous Verbs)

Some verbs that express states and not actions or processes cannot be used in Progressive Tenses. The easiest way to decide if you can use a verb in progressive form is to ask yourself if you can see somebody doing it. If you cannot see someone doing it, stick to Simple Tenses. The verbs usually express something abstract such as emotions, opinion or possession.

  • Senses / Perception: to feel, to hear, to see, to smell, to taste
  • Opinions / beliefs: to assume, to believe, to consider, to doubt, to feel (=to think), to find (=to consider), to suppose, to think*
    *‘To think’ cannot be used in a progressive tense if it expresses opinion. However, if it expresses the action of someone thinking about something without any result, it can be used in Progressive Tenses.
  • Mental states: to forget, to imagine, to know, to mean, to notice, to recognize, to remember, to understand
  • Emotions: to envy, to fear, to dislike, to hate, to hope, to like, to love, to mind, to prefer, to regret, to want, to wish
  • Measurement: to contain, to cost, to hold, to measure, to weigh
  • Others: to look (=to resemble), to seem, to be (in most cases), to have (=to own)

Exceptions
Some verbs have a different meaning in Progressive and Simple Tenses. Make sure to note these when forming sentences or translating them.

  • This massage feels nice. → perception of the massage’s quality
  • Franz is feeling sick from the salad. → his health is currently affected by the salad
  • My neighbor has 20 cats. → expressing ownership
  • I’m having a great time with you. → being entertained, feeling good
  • You can’t see the London Eye from here. → perception
  • I’m seeing my mom later during the week. → planning on meeting

Overview of Simple Tenses

What is the Simple Aspect?

Simple tenses are used to express actions that are repeated, factual, normal, or always true.

In simple present tense, it often refers to a habitual, regular action or anything that is in occurrence but is not necessarily happening right now. These are usually timeless statements. It is used to express facts. The focus is on the occurrence, not the process or if the action is complete. For example,

Starbucks serves the best coffee in town.

This sentence clearly indicates that you can find the best coffee at Starbucks, but they might not be serving it right now. (They may be closed.)

Other examples:

She teaches English to elementary school kids.
The paper arrives at 7 am every day.
You need two tablespoon of sugar for this recipe.

Take a look at the Simple Tenses in the Verb Tenses Chart:

Simple Verb Tenses
The 12 English Verb Tenses

Verbs Usually Used in Simple Tenses (Non-continuous Verbs)

Some verbs that express states and not actions or processes are generally used in Simple Tenses. These can be called stative verbs or non-continuous verbs. The easiest way to identify such verbs is to examine if you can see someone performing the action. If you cannot see someone doing it, you should usually use Simple Tenses. The verbs usually express something abstract such as emotions, opinion or possession.

Senses / Perception: to feel, to hear, to see, to smell, to taste

Opinions / beliefs: to assume, to believe, to consider, to doubt, to feel (=to think), to find (=to consider), to suppose, to think*
* ‘To think’ cannot be used in a progressive tense if it expresses opinion. However, if it expresses the action of someone thinking about something without any result, it can be used in Progressive Tenses.

Mental states: to forget, to imagine, to know, to mean, to notice, to recognize, to remember, to understand

Emotions: to envy, to fear, to dislike, to hate, to hope, to like, to love, to mind, to prefer, to regret, to want, to wish

Measurement: to contain, to cost, to hold, to measure, to weigh

Others: to look (=to resemble), to seem, to be (in most cases), to have (=to own)

Exceptions

Some verbs have a different meaning in Progressive and Simple Tenses. Make sure to note these when forming sentences or translating them.

This massage feels nice. → perception of the massage’s quality

Franz is feeling sick from the salad. → his health is currently affected by the salad

My neighbor has 20 cats. → expressing ownership

I’m having a great time with you. → being entertained, feeling good

You can’t see the London Eye from here. → perception

I’m seeing my mom later during the week. → planning on meeting

How to Use the Simple Aspect

Once you have decided to use the simple aspect, verb formation is very easy. The simple aspect can be used in all three tenses: Simple Present, Simple Past and Simple Future. There is no auxiliary verb needed for affirmative sentences in simple present and simple past; we simply use the first form of the verb in the correct tense.

General Structure of Simple Tenses

subject

+

main verb

+

object / adverbs

I

 

live

 

in Bali.

Questions in Simple Tenses

To form questions or negative phrases, the auxiliary verb ‘to do’ is used in the correct form in present and past tenses. For example,

Do you know where my keys are? / Did you know where my keys are?
I don’t know. / I didn’t know.


For a detailed explanation and usage, check out the individual page of each Simple Tense here:

Simple Present Tense
Simple Past Tense
Simple Future Tense