Past Continuous Tense Examples, Formula and Rules

Past Continuous (Progressive) Tense refers to ongoing actions in the past. If we want to talk about some past action that is completed while another is still going on, we use the Past Continuous for the longer unfinished action and the simple past for the shorter completed action.

Definition

Past continuous or past progressive tense is used to describe the past action that has not finished.

Formula

In past continuous tense, we use present participle. See the structure of affirmative, negative and interrogative sentences.

Affirmative Sentences

Formula for affirmative sentences.

Subject + was/were + present participle + object

  • He/She/It/I + was + present participle.
  • They/We/You + were + present participle.

Examples

  • They were doing useful work.
  • He was driving to work yesterday.

Negative Sentences

Subject + was/were + not + present participle + object

Examples

  • They were not doing useful work.
  • He was not driving to work yesterday.

Interrogative Sentences (Questions)

Was/were + subject + present participle + object + ?

Examples

  • Were they doing useful work?
  • Was he driving to work yesterday?

Read also: 50 Sentences of Past Continuous Tense

Usage

UsageExample
To show an action that was in progress at some specific time in past.We were having lunch at 02:00 pm yesterday.
To describe the ongoing action when another action started I was driving car when she called me.
To describe two or more ongoing actions in the past.He was drinking the tea while he was watching TV.
To describe the specific situation.When I entered the house, the chef was cooking the meal and kids were watching cartoons.

Past Continuous Tense Examples (20 Sentences)

  1. I was traveling to Venice last month.
  2. He was sitting idle.
  3. She fell down when she was running.
  4. I was reading my favorite novel last night.
  5. The mechanic was repairing my car last week.
  6. They were arranging a trip to hill station a few days ago.
  7. She was having dinner last night.
  8. I was answering the phone call when she entered the room.
  9. While I was going home, it started raining.
  10. What were you doing at 9 p.m. yesterday?.
  11. I was playing with the kids at 6 p.m. yesterday.
  12. He was enjoying a sound sleep a few hours ago.
  13. We were playing chess three hours ago.
  14. Tina was playing the guitar.
  15. Who was mopping the floor?
  16. He was not watching the movie with his friend.
  17. While I was driving to the market, my car suddenly stopped.
  18. While she was preparing for dinner, the doorbell rang.
  19. While Tom was playing football, his leg broke.
  20. While I was reading the book, I was drinking coffee.

Past Continuous Tense Paragraph Exercises

A young lady __________ (travel) on the train. A man __________ (stand) near to her. He __________ (chew) gum. A cute girl __________ (sit) opposite to her. The train was on its way to the destination in the morning. Some passengers __________ (sleep) on their seats when we __________ (have) breakfast.

Solution

A young lady was traveling on the train. A man was standing near to her. He was chewing gum. A cute girl was sitting opposite to her. The train was on its way to the destination in the morning. Some passengers were sleeping on their seats when we were having breakfast.

Past continuous tense examples
Past continuous tense examples

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