Past Continuous

We use the Past Continuous to talk about actions in progress at a certain time in the past or when we want to emphasize the duration of the activity over a period of time. If you would like to learn more about this tense, you’ve come to the right place. Feel free to look around, learn, and practice.

past continuous

We use it to talk about:

- ACTIONS IN PROGRESS AT A CERTAIN TIME IN THE PAST

Bob was writing his novel this weekend.


We weren’t doing much on Friday. You should’ve called!


Was Dan feeling well yesterday?

We often use past simple and past continuous together, in order to talk about one action happening while
another was in progress.

We saw an accident while we were walking in the street.

*NOTE: that we do not normally use state verbs in the continuous form (ie: know, love,
believe, want, etc.).

Richard knew he would pass the exam. (not: Richard was knowing)

I didn’t believe she won the lottery. (not: I wasn’t believing)

Did you want a dog when you were young? (not: Were you wanting)

Affirmative
I/he/she/it

we/you/they

was

were

working/doing/reading etc.
Negative
I/he/she/it

we/you/they

was not/wasn’t

were not/weren’t

working/doing/reading etc.
Questions
Was

Were

I/he/she/it

we/you/they

working/doing/reading etc. ?

* NOTE: Negative questions are also possible. In this case, we use them to
confirm information that we think is true (like we use question tags).

Wasn’t she having dinner when you called?