ESL Practice Questions – Present Progressive Tense – Arctic Balloon Expedition – Part 3

StudentsStudents around the world are under pressure to learn English. Most of them are attempting this as they work at a full or part time job. Others are studying subjects unrelated to English at high school, college or university. Thousands are worried and stressed about their marks and their financial situation. The type of English second language program that they are following could reduce their stress if it contains interesting content and offers activities that make them laugh. This article provides practice grammar questions that are based on an amazing true story.

Click below to view the video.



Our practice questions refer to Andrée’s Arctic Balloon Expedition. Videos for Part 1 and Part 2 told how Andrée, Frænkel and Strindberg left Sweden on a balloon in 1897. They lost control of their balloon’s direction and landed on the Arctic ice. They had little idea of their location, but packed some of their equipment and food and headed across the ice to where they had stored some supplies.

The Present Progressive Tense

 The present progressive tenses show that something is happening at a specific time.

To form this tense use the present tense of the verb “to be” (am – is – are) plus the present participle. For the present progressive add  “ing” to the root of the infinitive.


to land = landing

Choose the sentence that uses the present progressive tense.

Andree's Arctic expedition

Practice questions answers

1: a. In 1897 the three explorers are leaving their balloon on the ice.

b. In 1897 the three explorers leave their balloon on the ice.

c. In 1897 the three explorers left their balloon on the ice.


2:     a. They use their little boat on the open water.

b. They will use their little boat on the open water.

c. They are using their little boat on the open water.


3: a. The wind has moved them away from Seven Islands.

b. The wind is moving them away from Seven Islands.

c. The wind moved them away from Seven Islands.


4:     a. They camp on a large ice floe for the duration of winter.

b. They will camp on a large ice floe for the duration of winter.

c. They are camping on a large ice floe for the duration of winter.


5: a. The weather is getting much colder as the winter progresses.

b. The weather gets much colder as the winter progresses.

c. The weather got much colder as the winter progressed.

Put the verbs in brackets into the present continuous tense.

Then check your answers.

Home on the ice floe.Andrée, Frænkel and Strindberg (to head) ______________

across the Arctic ice. They (to expect) _________________

to reach Seven Islands where they will find their supplies. The

large smooth ice floes (to make) _________________ their

progress easier. As they travel they (to drink) __________________ good water

from pools on the floe. Later they rejoice  as they skin a polar bear that they have been

able to shoot.

Now they (to move) ________________ at a good speed towards Seven Islands,

when suddenly, the wind changes and moves them in another direction. Consequently,

because the weather (to get) ________________ colder and as they (to drift)

________________ in the wrong direction, they need to change their plans. As they

(to progress) ________________ towards Kvitoya they decide to build a snow

shelter for the winter. They will need a lot of space so they (to design)

_________________ a snow house with three rooms. In spite of the cold weather

the three explorers (to hope) ________________ that they will survive the winter.

See also:

Students using our curriculum learn their grammar.

About Daisy & George Stocker

Successful ESL was created out of our first company, Learning English With Laughter which began in 1990 when we, George and Daisy Stocker, traveled to the historic city of Karlovy Vary in Czechoslovakia, to teach English in a private language school. Communism was over and the people were embarking along the road to democracy. There were hundreds of students eager to learn the English Language, but suitable textbooks were non-existent. Consequently, we wrote as we taught, making countless revisions as we listened to the students' special needs. Upon returning to our home in Victoria, Canada, we have adapted the Teen-adult Series to meet the cultural needs of students in a number of different countries. A variety of adaptations have been achieved through contacts with many countries. Thousands of students have encouraged us to use a conversational approach to English that stresses communication in a variety of everyday situations. See our facebook page:
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