English Grammar: The Past Continuous Tense

All about the past continuous (or past progressive) tense...


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1. Forming the Past Continuous Tense

The past continuous is formed from the past tense of be with the -ing form of the verb (was/were + verb-ing)

Remember: usually STATIVE VERBS are NOT used in the progressive (-ing) form

2. When do we use the Past Continuous Tense...

  • Interrupted action in the past    

They were waiting for the strain when I spoke to them.

  • Parallel actions  

I was studying while my brother was watching TV.

  • A series of parallel actions            

When I came to the school, the school bell was ringing, many students were running towards the garden, teachers were going out from classrooms.

  • Story background            

While I was driving to work yesterday...

  • Past habit            

My mom wasalwayscomplaining about my room when she got there.

  • Specific time as an interruption

Last night at 6 p.m., I was eating dinner.

  • Emphasis of length of action      

I was working in the garden all day.

  • Arrangement in the past              

I was upset because I was leaving this place that morning.


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