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Writers Workshop: Writer Resources

Grammar Handbook: Perfect and Progressive Verb Forms

Perfect Form

The perfect form is the verb tense used to indicate a completed, or "perfected," action or condition. Verbs can appear in any one of three perfect tenses: present perfect, past perfect, and future perfect.

Verbs in the perfect form use a form of "have" or "had" + the past participle. (It is the form of the helping verb that indicates the tense.)

Progressive Form

The progressive form is a verb tense used to show an ongoing action in progress at some point in time. It shows an action still in progress. Verbs can appear in any one of three progressive tenses: present progressive, past progressive, and future progressive.

The verbs in the progressive form use a form of "to be" + the present participle (an -ing verb). (It is the form of the helping verb that indicates the tense.)

Perfect + Progressive

The perfect and progressive forms can be combined, as in the following examples (again, the form of the helping verbs indicates the tense):