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

SUBJECTWAS / WEREVERB + ingREST OF THE SENTENCE
Iwassleepingat 11 p.m. last night.
Youweresleepingat 11 p.m. last night.
Hewassleepingat 11 p.m. last night.
Tomwassleepingat 11 p.m. last night.
The boywassleepingat 11 p.m. last night.
Shewassleepingat 11 p.m. last night.
Annawassleepingat 11 p.m. last night.
The girlwassleepingat 11 p.m. last night.
Weweresleepingat 11 p.m. last night.
Youweresleepingat 11 p.m. last night.
Theyweresleepingat 11 p.m. last night.
The childrenweresleepingat 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

SUBJECTWAS NOT/ WERE NOTVERB + ingREST OF THE SENTENCE
Iwas notlisteningto music at 4 p.m. yesterday.
Youwere notlisteningto music at 4 p.m. yesterday.
Hewas notlisteningto music at 4 p.m. yesterday.
Tomwas notlisteningto music at 4 p.m. yesterday.
The boywas notlisteningto music at 4 p.m. yesterday.
Shewas notlisteningto music at 4 p.m. yesterday.
Annawas notlisteningto music at 4 p.m. yesterday.
The girlwas notlisteningto music at 4 p.m. yesterday.
Wewere notlisteningto music at 4 p.m. yesterday.
Youwere notlisteningto music at 4 p.m. yesterday.
Theywere notlisteningto music at 4 p.m. yesterday.
The menwere notlisteningto 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 / WERESUBJECTVERB (in base form)REST OF THE SENTENCE
WasIeatingbreakfast at 7 a.m. yesterday?
Wereyoueatingbreakfast at 7 a.m. yesterday?
Washeeatingbreakfast at 7 a.m. yesterday?
WasTomeatingbreakfast at 7 a.m. yesterday?
Wasthe boyeatingbreakfast at 7 a.m. yesterday?
Wassheeatingbreakfast at 7 a.m. yesterday?
WasAnnaeatingbreakfast at 7 a.m. yesterday?
Wasthe girleatingbreakfast at 7 a.m. yesterday?
Wereweeatingbreakfast at 7 a.m. yesterday?
Wereyoueatingbreakfast at 7 a.m. yesterday?
Weretheyeatingbreakfast at 7 a.m. yesterday?
Werethe meneatingbreakfast 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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