chevron icon chevron icon chevron icon

Simple Continuous Tenses

In this article, we will be looking into Simple Continuous Tenses. They are also known as progressive tenses. Let’s get started.

What is the Continuous Tense?

The continuous tense tells us that an action is continuing / in progress at the time of speaking.

  1. Past: A continuing action that occurred in the past.

Example:

He was knocking on the door. (Not just one knock.)

  1. Present: Happening right now, may continue.

Example:

You are learning English on Geniebook.

  1. Future: A continuous action that will occur in the future.

Example:

He will be calling her soon.

Did you notice?

  1. Verbs in the continuous tense always end with an “ing”.

Note: sometimes, words ending with "ing" can function as nouns. These are known as gerunds.

Example:

Verb: I was jogging when I fell.

Gerund (Noun): Jogging is a great form of exercise.

(We will not cover gerunds in today’s lesson.)
 

  1. There are other features of the three forms of continuous tenses, but they are rather obvious.

Practice Questions

Question 1:

I plan on __________ my driver’s license next year.

  1. Take
  2. Took
  3. Taking
  4. Will take

Answer:

(3) taking

Explanation:

The correct answer to this question is option (3) - “taking”. This is how we can use words like a plan, want, mean or expect instead of modal verbs like a will, may and can to indicate future plans or desires.

 

Question 2:

Jen __________ her assignment when her laptop crashed.

(Hint: Generally, the Past Continuous Tense takes the form was/were + verb-ing.)

  1. is doing
  2. Will be doing
  3. Did
  4. Was doing

Answer:

(4) Was doing

Explanation:

The correct answer to this question is option (4) - "Was doing". The clue in this question is "when her laptop crashed", as this event indicates that the event has happened in the past. Option (3) is eliminated as the verb should end with "ing". Options (1) & (2) are also eliminated as those are in the present tense and future tense, respectively. So, the correct answer to the question is option (4) - "Was doing" as it is in the past continuous tense.

Things to remember

Let’s consolidate the things we’ve discovered along the way:

  1. The Past Continuous Tense often takes the form of was/were + verb-ing
  2. The Present Continuous Tense often takes the form of am/is/are + verb-ing
  3. The Future Continuous Tense often takes the form of a modal verb/similar verb + verb-ing

A note on Past Continuous versus Simple Past

Some sentences can be grammatically correct with either tense. The difference is in the meaning:

  1. When Father got home, Mother was cooking.
  2. When Father got home, Mother cooked.

 

Statement 1:

Mother was already in the process of cooking when Father got home.
 

Statement 2:

The moment Father got home, Mother began cooking.

Use the correct form depending on what you are trying to say/contextual clues.

Practice Questions

 

Question 1:

Look at the sentence:

I __________ reading that book tomorrow.

Which word tells you the tense of the missing verb?

  1. that
  2. reading
  3. tomorrow
  4. book

Answer:

(3) tomorrow

Explanation:

The correct answer to this question is option (3) - "tomorrow". As the word "tomorrow" tells us that the event (reading book) will take place in the future, we are able to identify that we will be using the future tense of the missing verb.

 

Question 2:

The men __________ very hard in the factory.

  1. is working
  2. are working
  3. works
  4. working

Answer:

(2) are working

Explanation:

The correct answer to this question is option (2) - "are working". Option (1) and option (3) are incorrect as both of these are singular in nature, but the subject in the question (Men) are plural in nature. Option (4) is also incorrect as there is a missing verb. So, the correct answer is option (2) - "are working".

Test Your Concepts

Answer the following questions based on the concepts we’ve covered in this article. If you get stuck, revisit the relevant section to revise the concepts.

 

Question 1:

“Hey, pay attention! I __________ to you about something important!” Kelara snapped at Ghibly.

  1. will be talking
  2. am talking
  3. was talking
  4. talk

 

Question 2:

Look at the sentence:

They were __________ his birthday when the fireworks started.

Which word/s tells you the tense of the missing verb?

  1. They
  2. his birthday
  3. started ( both “had been celebrating” and “were celebrating” can go with “started”! It’s ultimately “were” that eliminates one option )
  4. were ( only “celebrating” goes with “were” )

 

Question 3:

Look at the sentence:

They were __________ his birthday when the fireworks started.

Which word/s tells you the tense of the missing verb?

  1. They
  2. his birthday
  3. started
  4. were

 

Question 4:

The musicians __________ all night for their performance tomorrow.

  1. preparing
  2. will be preparing
  3. is preparing
  4. were prepared

 

Question 5:

This time last year I __________ at Hockwords School.

  1. studied
  2. was studying
  3. were studying
  4. will be studying
Continue Learning
Comprehension Comprehension Questions
Vocabulary MCQ Vocabulary Cloze
Connectors Adverbs
Adjectives Tenses
Verb Forms & Perfect Tenses Simple Continuous Tenses
Words In Games Quantifiers
Editing Synthesis and Transformation
Question Tags & Tenses Composition Writing
Verb Forms Subject - Verb Agreement
Resources - Academic Topics
icon expand icon collapse Primary
icon expand icon collapse Secondary
icon expand icon collapse
Book a free product demo
Suitable for primary & secondary
select dropdown icon
Our Education Consultants will get in touch with you to offer your child a complimentary Strength Analysis.
Book a free product demo
Suitable for primary & secondary
icon close
Default Wrong Input
Get instant access to
our educational content
Start practising and learning.
No Error
arrow down arrow down
No Error
*By submitting your phone number, we have
your permission to contact you regarding
Geniebook. See our Privacy Policy.
Success
Let’s get learning!
Download our educational
resources now.
icon close
Error
Error
Oops! Something went wrong.
Let’s refresh the page!
Geniebook CTA Illustration Geniebook CTA Illustration
Turn your child's weaknesses into strengths
Geniebook CTA Illustration Geniebook CTA Illustration
close icon
close icon
Turn your child's weaknesses into strengths
Trusted by over 220,000 students.
 
Arrow Down Arrow Down
 
Error
Oops! Something went wrong.
Let’s refresh the page!
Error
Oops! Something went wrong.
Let’s refresh the page!
We got your request!
A consultant will be contacting you in the next few days to schedule a demo!
*By submitting your phone number, we have your permission to contact you regarding Geniebook. See our Privacy Policy.