Perfect Progressive Tenses: What They Are and How To Use Them

Do you know what the perfect progressive tenses are? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on perfect progressive tenses, including its definition, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What are the perfect progressive tenses?

Many people are familiar with the simple tenses, including the simple present tense, simple future tense, and the simple past tense. These verb tenses are often used to describe a completed actions, habits, a past action that is over or something that is going on for an indefinite time. The past tense of the verb often ends in ed save for some irregular verbs, and forms simple sentences. These can be affirmative or negative sentences, such as “Jenny finished her homework.” 

However, if we were only able to use simple tenses, our sentences would quickly become boring. This is why English has so much more than simple forms of verbs. Different tenses, also known as the different aspects of a verb, are used to discuss actions in different periods of time or conditions throughout the flow of time. 

Today, we will cover the perfect progressive tenses, also known as the perfect progressive aspect. According to Your Dictionary, progressive tenses, also known as continuous tenses, are a collective term to describe ongoing actions that are in progress. These are also called continuous forms which make use of the present participle or past participle in a verb phrase of activity verbs  with auxiliary verbs to show ongoing actions or habits. These do not show completed action, unlike the simple tenses. There are many forms of the perfect progressive tenses:

  •  Present perfect progressive tense/present perfect continuous tense/present perfect tense/perfect form/present progressive tense
  •  Past perfect progressive tense/past perfect tense/past progressive tense/past continuous tense
  •  Future perfect progressive tense/future perfect tense/future progressive tense/future continuous tense

Instead of the simple “Jenny finished her homework,” we can now say, “As Jenny was finishing her homework, her father burst in to reveal that the family had won a trip to Paris.” This tense uses the present participle of the main verb or past participle of the main verb.

What are examples of the perfect progressive tense?

See if you can identify the perfect progressive verb in the examples from Your Dictionary!

  • I was having a terrifying dream when the alarm clock went off at six o’clock this morning.
  • The amusement park will be increasing ticket prices later this year.
  • Will you be eating a plant-based diet in two months?
  • Is John playing football today?
  • I am going to slide you an e-mail tomorrow. 
  • Marc is making pizza now.
  • He was going to pack a ham sandwich for lunch but he decided to make a peanut butter and jelly instead.
  • In an hour, we will be flying over the Atlantic.
  • The stocks are dropping constantly due to the economy.
  • You are not watching the movie.
  • Rose is reading a book.
  • The baby is sleeping in his crib.
  • What were you doing when the alarm went off last night?
  • He is talking to his friend.
  • Are you going to the lesson?
  • By 3019, we will be driving spaceships.
  • The guests are wondering if the grammarians will quiz them on their knowledge all night. The short questions are getting old.
  • You were asking what pronoun they used, but they would not answer the rest of your question. 
  • I was not sleeping when you got home late last night.I was having a great conversation with him when his ex-girlfriend interrupted it.
  • The kids are arriving at six o’clock.
  • I was listening to my music, so I didn’t hear the phone ring.
  • What was she doing this time yesterday?
  • I was going to spend the afternoon at the mall but decided to stay home instead.
  • The dark was giving a loud bark tonight when Tim walked by.
  • They are eating lunch right now.
  • I was thinking of the progressive aspect of the ad from the 1980s.
  • I was wondering how I did on my exam. The long forms of the questions were confusing. 
  • We are leaving for the beach tomorrow morning.
  • While she was sleeping, someone took her phone.
  • We are visiting the museum in the afternoon.
  • Frances is talking on the phone at the moment.
  • She was always taking all my ideas.
  • We will not be driving spaceships in 3019.
  • We were wondering if she was able to meet us at noon.
  • The native speakers were thinking about how the rest of the sentence was formed. 
  • Her mother is forever misplacing her keys.
  • Is she laughing?
  • By then, we will be practicing yoga every morning.
  • In two months, I will be eating a plant-based diet.
  • I was forever worrying if I would make the team.
  • In a year, he will be asking for forgiveness.
  • She is crying.
  • Anthony is sitting in the chair.
  • Were you calling me when I emailed you this afternoon?
  • Today, most people are using text messages instead of the phone.
  • I am not going to the meeting after work.
  • He was waiting at home all day when she sent him the message.
  • She was wondering if you could babysit after school today.
  • We were sitting outside while the planes were flying overhead.
  • I thought we were planning to go at the present time, but I now realize I misread the first part and second part of your message.
  • Will Joanne be coming home for the holidays?
  • Our neighbor was always telling us funny stories about his daughter.
  • I was listening to my music, so I didn’t hear the phone ring.
  • He is not standing.
  • I was trying to think of a spelling tip to help me remember the last letter at the end of a sentence for my exam.
  • I was wondering if you could open the door.
  • Will we be flying over the Atlantic soon?
  • She was playing the piano while Ann was singing on stage.
  • Are they listening to the teacher?
  • While we were playing tennis, it started to rain.
  • I was making dinner when he arrived at my house this evening.
  • I was making dinner when he arrived at my house this evening.
  • Shopping online is growing in popularity nowadays.
  • I was having a great conversation with him when his ex-girlfriend interrupted it.
  • I was wondering if you could walk the dog for me this evening.

Overall, the perfect progressive tenses describe continuing action.


  1. Verb Forms: “-ing,” Infinitives, and Past Participles – Grammar – Academic Guides | Walden University 
  2. Future Progressive | Your Dictionary
  3. Present Continuous Tense Examples | Your Dictionary 
  4. Past Continuous | Your Dictionary