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Lesson 1.4e Verbs - Present Participle

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The present participle form is the -ing form of the verb. In fact, you can call it that, if you want. These occur with a form of be: am, is, are, was, or were.


The koala the eucalyptus.

The kangaroos over the fence.


A form of the auxiliary verb be plus the present participle together is called the progressive aspect of a verb.


Consider how the present tense is different from the present participle, when used to express progressive aspect:


She sings.                           present tense

She is singing.                    progressive aspect (using present participle)


What’s the difference in meaning? When would you use one and when would you use the other? The present tense in English is actually used to describe things that are NOT happening right now, which seems kind of strange, doesn’t it?


The present tense can also be used to describe events in the future:


 My aunt catches the train tomorrow at noon.


Or things that happen regularly or habitually:


She runs.

We eat beans.


But when something is happening right now or is ongoing, we use the progressive aspect.


            My aunt is catching a train right now.

            She is running.

            We are eating beans.


The form of the progressive with a present tense form of be: am, is, or are is called the present progressive. The form of the progressive with a past tense form of be: was or were is called the past progressive.



Find examples of the present tense in a book or other text.

Find examples of progressive aspect (with a present participle/-ing form).

Write them down and discuss your findings with each other.



key words: verb, tense, present participle, progressive, aspect


CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.3.1d Form and use regular and irregular verbs. 

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.3.1e Form and use the simple (e.g., I walked; I walk; I will walk) verb tenses. 

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.4.1b Form and use the progressive (e.g., I was walking; I am walking; I will be walking) verb tenses. 

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L5.1b Form and use the perfect (e.g., I had walked; I have walked; I will have walked) verb tenses. 


Here is this lesson as a pdf.


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