past continuous tense

Past continuous tense- construction and use. Learn how to form and when to use past continuous tense. You will find all the needed explanations and online exercises.

Learn another past tense – past perfect simple – here.

Past continuous tense- construction and use

Construction of past continuous

affirmative negativequestions
I I was walking I was not / wasn’t walking Was I walking?
you You were walking You were not/weren’t walking Were you walking?
he He was walking He was not/ weren’t walking Was he walking?
she She was walking She is not/ isn’t walking Was she walking?
it It was walking It was not/ wasn’twalking Was it walking?
we We were walking We were not/weren’t walking Were we walking?
you You were walking You were not/weren’t walking Were you walking?
they They were walking They were not/weren’t walking Were they walking?


subject to be verb+ing object
He was dancing at the party
You were making food


subject to be+not verb+ing object
He wasn’t dancing at the party.
You weren’t making food


to be subject verb+ing object
Was he singing at the party?
Were you making food?

When do we use it?

Use 1
to talk about activities that were happening at a given time in the past
I was reading a book yesterday at 3 p.m.
What were you doing on Monday afternoon?
Use 2
to describe 2 activities happening at the same time (using while)
Adam was resting while Tony was working.
They were discussing the issue while she was sleeping.
Use 3
to describe actions happening in the background
It was raining when somebody knocked at the door.

Typical words:

  • while
  • when
  • yesterday at 5
  • all day yestreday
  • at that moment

Practise online:

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