The present progressive may also be used to refer to things that are planned for the future (for example, "I am resigning tomorrow").
- The Difference Between the Present Progressive and Present Participle
- Future Tense
- Past Progressive
- Present Perfect Progressive
- Present Tense
Examples and Observations:
- "I hope that while so many people are out smelling the flowers, someone is taking the time to plant some."
- "I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving."
(Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.)
- "The key to failure is trying to please everybody."
- "I am an American aquarium drinker
I assassin down the avenue
I'm hiding out in the big city blinking
What was I thinking when I let go of you? . . .
I am trying to break your heart."
(Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart." Nonesuch, 2002)
- Tomorrow we are having a pasta party.
- "When telling a story, the performer knows exactly what is coming next and uses the illusion of spontaneity as a device to enhance the story."
(Robert Fulghum, Uh-Oh, Here Comes Christmas, 2001)
- Uses of the present progressive:
- to refer to events that are in progress at the time of speaking or writing
- to refer to things that are taking place or that are true around the moment of speaking or writing
- to describe actions that are repeated or regular but are either temporary or may be judged to be temporary
- to describe regular actions in relation to a particular time or a specified event, especially when those events interrupt something already in progress
- to refer to gradual processes of change
- with adverbs of indefinite frequency (such as always, constantly, continually, forever) to describe events that are regular but unplanned and often undesired
- The Simple Present and the Present Progressive
"The present progressive tense is especially difficult for those whose native language does not use this tense. . . .
I am searching for an error in the document.In contrast, the simple present tense more often relates to habitual actions:
[The search is occurring now and may continue.]
I search for errors in my documents.(Gerald J. Alred et al., The Business Writer's Handbook. Macmillan, 2006)
[I regularly search for errors, but I am not necessarily searching now.]"
- "[I]t is instructive to compare the present simple (54a) with the present progressive (54b):
(54a) I live in London.The sense of (54a) is that this is a relatively permanent state of affairs--there is no suggestion that the speaker is intending to leave any time soon; in (54b), the sense is that the situation is temporary; London is where the speaker happens to live at the moment, but this could change.
(54b) I am living in London.
"The present progressive can also carry a 'habitual' sense in an appropriate context. We see this in (55).
(55) I've recently changed my newspaper; now I'm reading the Guardian.Again, the present progressive is frequently used to refer to situations that have yet to begin:
(56) They're flying to Rome in August."(Martin J. Endley, Linguistic Perspectives on English Grammar. Information Age Publishing, 2010)