What Is the Continuing Aspect? (with Examples)

What Is the Continuing Aspect? (with Examples)

The continuing aspect (or progressive aspect as it's more commonly called) is the aspect of a verb that expresses an on-going action.

Continuing aspect is the collective term for verbs (past, present, or future) in a continuing (or progressive) tense. (This covers the perfect progressive tenses too.)

Examples of Verbs in the Continuing Aspect

Here are some examples of verbs in the continuing aspect. Verbs in the continuing aspect are recognizable by the present participle (i.e., the word which ends -ing). The list below includes verbs in the progressive tenses and the perfect progressive tenses.

In the Past Tense
  • I was going.
  • (progressive tense)
  • They were eating.
  • (progressive tense)
  • She had been feeling.
  • (perfect progressive tense)
In the Present Tense
  • I am going.
  • (progressive tense)
  • We are cleaning.
  • (progressive tense)
  • It has been recovering.
  • (perfect progressive tense)
In the Future Tense
  • I will be going.
  • (progressive tense)
  • You will be acting.
  • (progressive tense)
  • He will have been flying.
  • (perfect progressive tense)

Forming the Continuing (Progressive) Aspect

The continuing aspect is formed using a form of the auxiliary verb to be and the present participle. For example:

Forming the Past Progressive Tense

"was" or "were" + present participle
  • They were eating.
Forming the Present Progressive Tense

"is" or "are" + present participle
  • He is eating.
  • We are eating.
Forming the Future Progressive Tense

"will be" + present participle
  • He will be eating.
The continuing aspect also includes the perfect progressive tenses. These are formed using a form of the auxiliary verb to have, plus been, and the present participle. For example:

Forming the Past Perfect Progressive Tense

"had" + "been" + present participle
  • They had been eating.
Forming the Present Perfect Progressive Tense

"has" or "have" + "been" + present participle
  • He has been eating.
  • We have been eating.
Forming the Future Perfect Progressive Tense

"will have" + "been" + present participle
  • He will have been eating.

Verb Tenses Showing the Continuing Aspect

Here is a list of the verb tenses. The ones in the continuing aspect are shaded.

The 4 Past Tenses Example
simple past tense I went
past progressive tense I was going
past perfect tense I had gone
past perfect progressive tense I had been going
The 4 Present Tenses Example
simple present tense I go
present progressive tense I am going
present perfect tense I have gone
present perfect progressive tense I have been going
The 4 Future Tenses Example
simple future tense I will go
future progressive tense I will be going
future perfect tense I will have gone
future perfect progressive tense I will have been going

See Also

What is the progressive aspect? What is aspect? What are the progressive tenses? What are the perfect progressive tenses? What is the past progressive tense? What is the present progressive tense? What is the future progressive tense? What is the past perfect progressive Tense? What is the present perfect progressive tense? What is the future perfect progressive tense?