Past Continuous Tense
The Past Continuous Tense, also known as Past Progressive Tense, is used to express an action going on at some time in the past. The time of the action may or may not be indicated. For example;
- We were listening to the radio all evening.
- It was getting darker.
This tense is also used with always, continually, etc. for persistent habits in the past. For example, "He was always grumbling".
Rules: Helping verb "was" or "were" is used in sentence. 1st form of verb with addition of "ing" is also used in sentence
Structure of Sentence
- Subject + helping verb ("was" or "were") + (1st form of verb+ing) + object
- If the subject is "I, he, she, it or singular proper noun" then helping verb "was" is used after subject in sentence.
- If the subject is "they, we, you or plural noun" then helping verb "were" is used.
- The participle "ing" is added to the 1st form of Verb.
- She was washing clothes.
- They were playing hockey yesterday.
- Subject + helping verb ("was" or "were") + not + (1st form of verb+ing) + object
- In negative sentence, "not" is added between helping verb and verb.
- Other rules for using helping verb (was or were) are same as mentioned above in positive sentences.
- She was not washing clothes.
- They were not playing hockey yesterday.
- Helping verb ("was" or "were") + subject + (1st form of verb+ing) + object
- Helping verb "was" or "were" is placed at the beginning of sentence.
- Rules for using helping verb are the same as mentioned above in positive sentences.
- Was she washing clothes?
- Were they playing hockey yesterday?
Note: In some cases, Past Continuous and Simple Past can be used together. For example:
- The light went out while I was reading.
- When I saw him, he was playing chess.
As in the two sentences above, the Past Continuous and Simple Past were used together when a new action happened in the middle of a longer action. The Simple Past is used for the new action.
- The words "what, where, when, how, etc." will be used before "was" or "were" in such kind of interrogative sentences, for example: "What was she washing?".
Interrogative Negative Sentence
- Helping verb ("Was" or "Were") + subjecct + not + (1st form of very+ing) + object
- In Past Progressive Tense, interrogative negative sentences are just like interrogative affirmative sentences with only use of "not" after subject.
- Was he not laughing?
- Were you not listening while he was talking?
Rule: Must put Question Mark (?) in the end of interrogative and interrogative negative sentences.
More Examples of Past Continuous (Progressive) Tense
- I was reading article.
- He was taking exam last month.
- She was working in a factory.
- It was raining yesterday.
- You were waiting for him yesterday.
- We were watching movie.
- They were laughing at the joker.
- I was not reading article.
- He was not taking exam last month.
- She was not working in a factory.
- It was not raining yesterday.
- You were not waiting for him yesterday.
- We were not watching movie.
- They were not laughing at the joker.
- Was I reading article?
- Was she working in a factory?
- Was it raining yesterday?
- Were you waiting for him yesterday?
- Where was he taking his exam last year?
Interrogative Negative Sentences
- Was I not reading article?
- Were they not laughing?
- When was it not raining?