Perfect Progressive Aspect: What It Is and How To Use It

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 is the perfect progressive aspect?

There are many different aspects of verb that one might use. Most 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 completed actions from a specific point in time, habitual actions, a past action that is over or something that is going on for an indefinite time.

However, if the only tense that existed was the simple tense,we would not be able to discuss many interesting things and additional information about when an action takes place or for what duration of time besides the present moment. 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, such as the perfect aspect of a verb, indefinite aspects, the indicative mood, and other grammatical moods. These can be used in the first person, second person, or third person to describe a complete action, something that happened in a single block of time, a finished action, an unfinished action, and more possible combinations.

Today, we will cover the perfect progressive tenses, also known as the perfect progressive aspect. According to Your Dictionary, the grammatical category of progressive tenses, also known as continuous tenses, use 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 aspect?

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

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

Overall, the perfect progressive tenses describe continuous 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