Although it’s not the most frequently studied verb tenses, the present perfect progressive is used quite frequently in speech.
It is used to describe the beginning of an ongoing action in the past that is continuing now and will continue into the future. Here is an activity to help you recognize how it is used in everyday speech.
Students learning English tend to use only will or going to to express the future, but did you know that the present progressive can also be used to express events in the near future?
The present progressive form of the verb (to be + ___-ing) stays the same; all you have to do is add context, and you’re finished! Until you get comfortable using the present progressive to express the future, you can become familiar with the form and meaning with this activity:
Here’s how the Verb Tense and Meaning Technique works:
If your question says something like:
What is most likely to happen next?
The boy will call his mom.
The boy remains calm.
His sister called him.
His sister would bother him.
You can eliminate (or slash) 3 and 4 because called is in the past tense (an action that is finished) and would bother (with the use of would) talks about an ongoing action that happened in the past over a period of time.
You can further eliminate #2 because it is in the present tense, and doesn’t answer the question which is clearly referring to a future action.
A quick follow-up conversation activity is to have students talk about what interested them most about their career. How did they get started? How long have they worked in the field? Use these activities as a model for the grammar practice.
Early on, students learn that the future is formed with will + verb. Later, the going to form of the future is learned. Have you ever noticed how similar the future with going to is to the present progressive?
They are both formed with the present simple form of the verb to be + verb -ing. The difference is in the future with going to, go is not the main verb. In the present progressive, go is the main verb.
I’m going to the mall. (go is the main verb)
I’m going to call you later. (call is the main verb)
It’s common to use the present progressive when the main verb is go in the present progressive to refer to an action in the near future. Other verbs can be used in the present progressive to mean the near future.
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