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What is a progressive tense?

Remember, know what progressives are, because you have to get rid of them in English before going into Afrikaans. Progressives do not usually translate into Afrikaans.

What is it?

Progressive indicates a continuous action versus a one-time action. Compare: I close the book VERSUS I am closing the book.

You will notice the TO BE and verb-ING structure.

Because this structure is so normal and omnipresent in English, we have to talk about it. We would find ways around it, since Afrikaans does NOT use a TO BE + verb-ing structure.

(English Mindset): She was talking on the phone when I got home.
(Afrikaans Mindset): She was on the phone when I got home.

You will have to train yourself to identify progressive sentences and "unprogressivise" them :-)


He was kicking the ball. > He kicked the ball.
He is kicking the ball. > He kicks the ball.
He will be kicking the ball. > He will kick the ball.


Remove the progressive from the sentences below. Copy them to Notepad or a word processor, then change them, then click on this link to compare your effort with the answers.

1. The leader is coming.
2. We were thinking about it.
3. I will be going too.
4. The phone was ringing when I woke up, and believe me, I was trying to answer it, but the phone fell to the ground. Now I am wondering who was calling. When I go to work I will be checking with others to find out who was calling me so early.

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