Activities for Teaching the Progressive Tenses

Small groups

Small Group Activities

 The progressive tenses are fun to teach as they follow an easy rule. When your students have studied the simple present and past tenses they will be ready to learn and use the present and past progressive tenses. This article outlines the basic grammar and provides several talking activities.

The progressive tenses show that something is happening at a specific time.

For the present progressive use the present tense of the verb

“to be” ( am / is / are) + the present participle.



Activity Answers

Activity Answers


Small Group Activity

Small Group Activity


    to play – playing           to see – seeing         to be – being

I am reading a book.

She is drinking juice.

We are learning English.




Oral Questions

Oral Questions – Whole Class Activity

 When you add an ending to a word that ends with one silent “e”,

drop the “e”, then add the ending.

EXAMPLES:      to have – having        to close – closing         to live – living


For the past progressive tense use the past tense of the verb

“to be” (was / were ) + the present participle.


I was walking yesterday.                                We were walking yesterday.

You were walking yesterday.                           You were walking yesterday.

He was walking yesterday.                             They were walking yesterday.

She was walking yesterday. / It was walking yesterday.

Your students will enjoy the above activities and find them very helpful. We found that they frequently asked for additional copies to practice with at home. As with all grammar, the most important thing is to provide plenty of oral activities. In this way the students’ use of the tenses becomes automatic.

Written by:
Modified: September 4th, 2017
Published: June 20th, 2011

Comments (2)

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  1. ABELIA says:

    Good suggestions. I am teaching my niece who just arrived the country English at home and your website helps greatly

  2. Santos says:

    Good techniques. I think it would actually make me more effective.

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