Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Fun with the Progressive Tense

My friend Frank Ball wrote a clever piece about the use of the progressive tense.

The King of Ing

At dawn, the King of Ing was standing at his window, wishing for a better way of communicating with his people who were not responding to his commanding style but were sitting, resting, and accomplishing little. He started pacing, moving from one side of the room to the other, contemplating what to do. Knowing improvement was not happening without something changing, he was considering acquiring a differing way of writing. Therefore, using his own quill, he began composing an edict for posting at the city square.

The King of Ing Revised

At dawn, the King of Ing stood at his window and wished for a better way to communicate with his people who had not responded to his commands but sat, rested, and accomplished little. As he paced from one side of the room to the other, he contemplated what to do. Without change, improvement is impossible, so he considered a different way to write. Therefore, he used his own quill to compose this edict posted at the city square: Your leader has decided to speak in better style as your new Prince of Simple Past Tense.

If you want to amuse or show imprecise writing, use the progressive tense at least once in every paragraph.


  1. Thanks for the illustration. I sent it to a fellow teacher. When I taught English, it wasn't always easy to keep the tenses straight, so using this type of story makes it easier for kids (and adults!) to see it and note the difference.

  2. Wow. What a great example. I'd love to share this in The Joynal, the newsletter of my ACW group, JoyWriters. I'll have to track Frank down and request permission.

  3. Great illustration. Thanks.

    And thanks for all the great tips you give on this blog. I awarded you the One Lovely Blog award today for your efforts.

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


What are your thoughts?