Present Progressive conjugation is only the first step in teaching this verb tense to students studying English as a second language.
In addition to "conjugation," verb lesson plans must also include "form" and "function" of the tense being taught.
The Present Progressive tense (also called Present Continuous) is usually one of the first verb tenses ESL students are taught. However, prior to a grammar lesson teaching this tense, ESL students have to first learn the irregular verb, "to be."
First Step in Present Progressive Conjugation
The verb "to be" is the helping verb (or auxiliary verb) used to form the Present Continuous.
This verb tense is formed by combining the helping verb "to be" with the "-ing" (or the Present Participle) form of the main verb.
For example, "She is dancing" ("dancing" is the main verb, "is" is the helping verb).
The Present Participle (-ing) of the main verb will always be the same in the Present Progressive verb tense, no matter who or what the subject is. The helping verb will change according to the subject. (See the examples below.)
Remember, for all verb tenses, three things are essential in teaching English Language Learners:
Present Progressive conjugation, form, and function are further discussed below.
Present Progressive Conjugation of Verbs
All verbs must be conjugated for the subject pronouns, I, You, She/He/It, They, and We. Here are some Present Continuous Conjugation examples using miscellaneous verbs.
Present Progressive Verb Forms (five forms ESL/EFL students must learn)
Functions of the Present Progressive Tense (when to use the Present Progressive)
The Present Progressive/Present Continuous verb tense has two primary functions, and one secondary function:
ESL Student Challenges
There are two common challenges ESL students have with Present Progressive conjugation:
For a thorough discussion on teaching verbs to adults studying ESL or EFL, see my ESL Verb Tenses page.
Additional ESL Resource
Azar's, Understanding and Using English Grammar is an excellent textbook for teaching Present Progressive conjugation, form, and function, as well as all other verb tenses. I use it regularly with my intermediate and advanced ESL/EFL students. It
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