Volume 47, Issue 3
  • ISSN 0378-4177
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9978



This study investigates the relationship between progressive patterns and present and past time reference. First, it looks at the shared distribution of more than 90 progressives in two parallel corpora and discusses the characteristics of these contexts. It is shown that while progressives are used for dramatic and topical events in the present, they are typically used as backgrounding, supportive material in the past. Second, it is shown that progressives generally have more occurrences in contexts with present time reference than past, this is especially true for progressives with many uses, i.e. more grammaticalized progressives. And third, a number of progressives temporally restricted are presented. Two historical explanations for these restrictions are provided, both of which result from the higher frequency of present uses over past.

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