Past Continuous Tense

The Past Continuous Tense is one of the four sub-divisions of The Past Tense. Past Continuous Tense refer to the actions which were going on in the past.

past continuous tense timeline

The structures of the Past Continuous Tense along with the examples are as follows:

1. Sub + was/were + v+ obj. (for Affirmative i.e. positive sentences)

  • He was eating rice.
  • We were playing hockey.
  • She was teaching her students in the class.
  • ‚ÄčI was listening to the music.

2. Sub + was/were not + v4 + obj. (Negative sentences)

  • He was not eating rice.
  • We were not playing football.
  • She was not teaching her students in the class.
  • I was not listening to the music.

3. Was/were + sub + v4 + obj? (Positive Interrogative)

  • Was he eating rice?
  • Where we playing hockey?
  • Was she teaching her students in the class?
  • Was I listening to the music?

4. Was/were + sub + not + v4 + obj? (Negative Interrogative)

  • Was he not eating rice?
  • Were we not playing hockey?
  • Was she not teaching her students in the class?
  • Was I not listening to the music?

5. Wh-word + was/were + sub + v4 + obj? (Wh-question)

  • What was he eating?
  • What were we playing?
  • What was she teaching her students in the class?
  • What was I listening to?

Where Past Continuous Tense is used?

past continuous tense usage

Past Continuous Tense is used with actions or events which were occurring and had not completed in the past.

For Example:

  • I was eating noodles.
  • They were watching a play.
  • She was cooking food.
  • He was playing chess.
  • We were dancing.

Past Continuous Tense is used with action or event happening in the past while another in the progress.

For Example:

  • I was ate noodles when my sister was busy preparing lunch for everyone.
  • Someone started gunfire when they were watching a play.
  • When my boyfriend reached, I was waiting him.
  • The telephone rang when we were having dinner.
  • Harry patted the dog, when it was barking.

Past Continuous Tense is used with two or more than two different actions happening at the same time.

For Example:

  • I was eating noodles while my sister was busy preparing lunch for everyone.
  • Someone was gun firing when they were watching a play.
  • The telephone was ringing when we were having dinner.
  • Harry was patting the dog when it was barking.
  • What were you doing while your sister was studying?

Past time is used with All / At this time.

For Example:

  • It was snowing all yesterday.
  • They were dancing all night at this time last Sunday.
  • What was your mother cooking for lunch yesterday?
  • I was swimming at this time last Monday.
  • He was playing at this time last Wednesday.