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Progressive

Overview

The progressive (la perífrasis progresiva) is a combination of the gerund and the verb estar (to be) to indicate an action in progress. The progressive tells what a person "is doing" at a certain time. The progressive tense can be used in any time reference simply by changing the tense of estar, creating the present progressive, preterit progressive, the imperfect progressive, the future progressive, etc. The gerund (present participle) never changes according to the tense.

Progressive

The progressive is a verb phrase consisting of both estar (the "is" part which indicates the tense) and the gerund (the "-ing" part which indicates what the action is). To form the progressive, conjugate estar to the tense you want the action to be and add the gerund form of the verb that the person is actually doing.

Progressive Formula

estar + gerund (verb stem + -ando for -ar verbs/-iendo for -er and -ir verbs)

present progressive

  • Yo estoy hablando español. (I am speaking Spanish (right now).

preterit progressive

  • estuviste corriendo por el parque ayer. (You were running through the park yesterday.)

imperfect progressive

  • Él estaba escribiendo un libro cuando era joven. (He was writing a book when he was young.)

future progressive

  • Nosotros estaremos viajando este verano. (We will be traveling this summer.)

conditional progressive

  • Vosotros estaríais trabajando para el Gobierno. (You would be working for the government.)

present perfect progressive

  • Ellos han estado durmiendo. (They have been sleeping.)

past perfect progressive

  • Yo había estado soñando. (I had been dreaming.)

future perfect progressive

  • Tú habrás estado jugando. (You will have been playing.)

conditional perfect progressive

  • Ella habría estado compitiendo. (She would have been competing.)

present subjunctive progressive

  • Dudo que nosotras estemos bailando bien. (I doubt that we (ladies) are dancing well.)

imperfect subjunctive progressive

  • Era imposible que vosotras estuviérais volando. (It was impossible that you (ladies) were flying.)

present perfect subjunctive progressive

  • Espero que ellas hayan estado practicando. (I hope they (ladies)have been practicing.)

past perfect subjunctive progressive

  • Ojalá yo hubiera estado estudiando. (I wish I had been studying.)

Verbs of Motion

The estar + gerund combination is also used to describe the location of something with idiomatic expressions:

  • La tienda está yendo derecho por esta calle. (The store is straight down this street.)
  • Mi casa está doblando la próxima esquina. (My house is around the next corner.)

Exercises

1) Use the verb estar in the present indicative + the gerund to complete each sentence with the present progressive.

Example: No me molestes. Yo (dormir). -> Yo estoy durmiendo.

  • Mi mamá (comer) una ensalda.
  • Yo (leer) mi libro.
  • Tú (estudiar).
  • La nieve (caer).
  • Nosotros (tomar) unos cafés.
  • ¿Qué (hacer) Ud.?
  • Mis primos (viajar) este verano.
  • Vosotros (mirar) el juego.

Answers

  • está comiendo
  • estoy leyendo
  • estás estudiando
  • está cayendo.
  • estamos tomando
  • está haciendo
  • están viajando
  • estáis mirando
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updated JUL 29, 2013
edited by martha-sd
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