Past Progressive (Continuous)

Past progressive (continuous)

The past continuous in English is a verb tense that is used to talk about continuing actions that took place in the past. There are many situations in which the past continuous is used in a sentence.


1. We use the past continuous to indicate an interruption in the past:

2. To indicate a specific interruption in the past:

3. To show that two or more actions are happening at the same time in the past:

4. With repetition and word “always”:


The past continuous is formed using:
was/were + present participle.
The negative – simply by adding 'not' :

Positive Negative
I was writing I was not (wasn't) writing
You were sleeping You were not (weren't) sleeping
He was working He was not (wasn't) working
She was reading She was not (wasn't) reading
It was raining It was not (wasn't) raining
We were shopping We were not (weren't) shopping
They were watching basketball They were not (weren't) watching basketball

To form 'yes / no' questions, simply put 'was / were' in front of the subject:

'Yes / No' Question 'WH' Question
Was I sleeping? Why was I sleeping?
Were you working? Where were you working?
Was she cooking? How was she cooking?
Was he living in London at the time? Where was he living at the time?
Was it snowing when you arrived? Why was it snowing in the summer?
Were we watching something? What were we watching?
Were they studying? Why were they studying?

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