Past Continuous Tense (Formula, Usage, Examples)| Past Continuous Tense Examples

Past continuous tense expresses the actions or task that were ongoing in the past. We cannot determine when the action started or finished. For example, When I was walking yesterday, it started raining.

Signal Words

Structure / Formula

Subject + was/were + Present participle (-ing) form

Hewasdrawinga sketch.
SubjectAuxiliary verbPresent Participle(ing)object

Positive Sentences

To make the positive sentences, see the following formula.

Subject + was/were + Present participle (-ing) form

Examples of positive sentences

Negative Sentences

We add ‘not’ after auxiliary verb to make the sentence negative.

Subject + was/were + not + Present participle (-ing) form

Examples of negative sentences.

Question Sentences

To make the question, auxiliary verb come at the start of the sentence and question mark at the end.

Was/were + Subject + Present participle (-ing) form + ?

Examples of question sentences.


To express actions that were ongoing in pastHe was playing tennis yesterday.
Two or more ongoing past actions at the same time.He was watching movie while he was was eating chips.
Time expressionHe was driving car at 05:00 pm yesterday.

Example Sentences

1. He was drawing the old man out of the ditch.
2. He was writing an interesting story.
3. Was he living in this house?
4. I was not reciting the national anthem.
5. John was traveling to Venice.
6. She was driving the car.
7. They were eating mangoes.
8. The naughty boy was not teasing the old man.
9. Was the hero fighting with cannibals?
10. They were not signing the agreement.

See also: Simple Present Tense( Formula, Examples, Exercise)

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Past continuous tense formula, usage and example sentences
Past continuous tense

Passive Voice

Usually, passive voice of past continuous tense is made when the subject is not known. For example,

  • Mangoes were being eaten. (affirmative)
  • Mangoes were not being eaten. (negative)
  • Were mangoes being eaten? (question)

The past continuous tense describes actions that occurred in the past. It is often used for actions that continued for a brief time after they began. This tense refers to actions or events that occurred at a particular time in the past. These actions are not usually happening at the moment the sentence is being written or spoken.


Forming the Past Continuous Tendency

The past continuous is made from the past tense “to be” and the base verb, plus the ending “-ing” form.

It’s formed as follows: Subject + was/were + continuous verb form ending in -ing

This is an example of the past continuous tense: She called me last night while I was watching TV. “Was watching” is the past continuous tense. This tense can also be used in the following example: He was playing football last week when he injured his wrist. The past continuous tense of “were” is “were”.

Examples of Past Continuous Tense

These are some basic examples of past continuous tense. Each sentence’s verb tense is highlighted.

This tense can also be used to ask a question. This usage is illustrated by:

Combining past continuous tense with past simple is a common combination. This is an example of such a combination: The rain started while we were sitting in the stadium. The past continuous tense refers to “were sitting”, while the past simple refers to “began”.

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This combination shows that the simple past tense interrupts the past progressive action. This combination shows that something happened during another event.
You can also use past continuous tense to describe the background of a story that was written in the past. This usage is illustrated by:

When describing an unfinished act that was interrupted by another, you can use the past continuous tense. In the past, the action started before the second action and continued for a brief time after. This is an example of such use:

The Past Continuous can also be used as a way to express a change in mind or thought from the past. This use is illustrated by:

The past continuous tense is used to indicate that two actions were occurring simultaneously in the past. Both of these actions are not happening in the present. This use is illustrated by:

There are many other uses.

The word “wonder” can be used in past continuous tense. It is used in this manner as a request. This request is not being made now, but was in the past. This is an example of such use:

The words forever, always, continuously and forever can be combined with past continuous. It is used to speak about events that have occurred repeatedly, but which took place in the past. This action does not occur now, and it was only a temporary habit. This is an example of such use:


The Importance and Usefulness of the Past Continuous Tendency

Because it’s used to refer to actions or events that occurred in the past, but are no longer happening now, the past continuous tense can be important. This tense can either be used by itself or combined with the past simple tense in order to indicate that an event or action occurred during another action. This tense gives an idea of the order of events, and the relative timing of past events.

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