Previous corpus-based research on the progressive (BE+V-ing) investigated it from a diachronic point of view or from the angle of World Englishes (WEs). However, factors such as its propensity to occur with animate subjects or its preference for dynamic verbs have not been studied in relation to the choice between progressive and simple aspect. As the progressive has been extended to stative verbs, we argue that a variationist study of the construction in WEs needs to take simple VPs into account systematically, too, and investigate whether there is interaction between predictor variables underlying the progressive:simple choice. We use a probabilistic grammar approach to study progressives in newspaper writing across a broad range of WEs. We apply a tree and forest analysis to gauge the relative strength of the predictor variables ‘regional variety’, ‘animacy’, ‘tense/modality’, ‘verb type’ and ‘voice’. Our results show that the core grammar for the progressive:simple choice is shared across all Englishes. The extension of
progressives to stative verbs, in particular, does not result in statistically detectable effects.We argue that they nevertheless serve to give a very ‘local’ flavour to contact varieties as they are salient against the backdrop of the core grammar.