Past Continuous Tense: Definition & Useful Examples in English 1

Past Continuous Tense: Definition & Useful Examples in English

Past continuous tense in English with past continuous examples. Learn the definition and how to form the past continuous tense in English with useful examples and ESL infographics.

Past Continuous Tense

Past Continuous Definition

In the Past Continuous tense, the action was ongoing till a certain time in the past. This tense is used to talk about an action at a particular time in the past.

Forming the Past Continuous Tense

Positive Statements | Past Continuous

SUBJECT WAS / WERE VERB + ing REST OF THE SENTENCE
I was sleeping at 11 p.m. last night.
You were sleeping at 11 p.m. last night.
He was sleeping at 11 p.m. last night.
Tom was sleeping at 11 p.m. last night.
The boy was sleeping at 11 p.m. last night.
She was sleeping at 11 p.m. last night.
Anna was sleeping at 11 p.m. last night.
The girl was sleeping at 11 p.m. last night.
We were sleeping at 11 p.m. last night.
You were sleeping at 11 p.m. last night.
They were sleeping at 11 p.m. last night.
The children were sleeping at 11 p.m. last night.

For making positive statements in the past continuous tense, notice how we use:

  • ‘was’ for the subjects ‘I’, ‘He’ and ‘She’ and ‘were’ for the subjects ‘You’, ‘We’ and ‘They’
  • And the verb +ing all subjects.

Negative Statements | Past Continuous

SUBJECT WAS NOT/ WERE NOT VERB + ing REST OF THE SENTENCE
I was not listening to music at 4 p.m. yesterday.
You were not listening to music at 4 p.m. yesterday.
He was not listening to music at 4 p.m. yesterday.
Tom was not listening to music at 4 p.m. yesterday.
The boy was not listening to music at 4 p.m. yesterday.
She was not listening to music at 4 p.m. yesterday.
Anna was not listening to music at 4 p.m. yesterday.
The girl was not listening to music at 4 p.m. yesterday.
We were not listening to music at 4 p.m. yesterday.
You were not listening to music at 4 p.m. yesterday.
They were not listening to music at 4 p.m. yesterday.
The men were not listening to music at 4 p.m. yesterday.

For making negative statements in the past continuous tense, notice how we use:

  • ‘was not’ for the subjects ‘I’, ‘He’ and ‘She’ and ‘were not’ for the subjects ‘You’, ‘We’ and ‘They’
  • And the verb +ing all subjects.

Interrogative Statements / Questions | Past Continuous

WAS / WERE SUBJECT VERB (in base form) REST OF THE SENTENCE
Was I eating breakfast at 7 a.m. yesterday?
Were you eating breakfast at 7 a.m. yesterday?
Was he eating breakfast at 7 a.m. yesterday?
Was Tom eating breakfast at 7 a.m. yesterday?
Was the boy eating breakfast at 7 a.m. yesterday?
Was she eating breakfast at 7 a.m. yesterday?
Was Anna eating breakfast at 7 a.m. yesterday?
Was the girl eating breakfast at 7 a.m. yesterday?
Were we eating breakfast at 7 a.m. yesterday?
Were you eating breakfast at 7 a.m. yesterday?
Were they eating breakfast at 7 a.m. yesterday?
Were the men eating breakfast at 7 a.m. yesterday?

For asking questions in the past continuous tense, notice how we use:

  • ‘was ’ for the subjects ‘I’, ‘He’ and ‘She’ and ‘were ’ for the subjects ‘You’, ‘We’ and ‘They’
  • And the verb +ing all subjects.

Past Continuous Chart

Past Continuous Tense

Past Continuous Tense

Past Continuous Tense

Past Continuous Tense: Definition & Useful Examples in English 2

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