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Past Continuous Tense

What is past continuous tense ?

What is meant by past continuous tense is, to talk about the situations that were happening in the past. It is formed from the past tense of the verb be, together with the -ing form of a verb.




How do you use past continuous tense ?


  • to say that someone was doing something in the past, usually in the middle of an action.


E.g. –

Last Friday Sue went swimming. She started to swim at 9.00 a.m. and finished at 10.30 a.m.

What was Sue doing at 9.30 a.m.? Sue was swimming at 9.30 a.m. She had not finished swimming at 9.30 a.m. She was in the middle of swimming at 9.30 a.m.




  • to say something was happening repeatedly:

E.g. –

She was always singing in the bath.

They were helping each other all the time.


  • to say something continued for sometime:

E.g. –

All the employees were demanding.

His arm was aching.




  • to say any change, growth or development that was happening in the past:

E.g. –

Our little town was rapidly growing.


Also, we often use the past simple and the past continuous together to say that something happened in the past.


E.g. –


So, now we can understand that the past continuous tense describes conditions that existed in the past. These were unfinished or incomplete actions which were happening continuously in the past when another action interrupted it.

The past continuous tense can also refer to a habitual action in the past.


E.g. –

She was interfering in everyone’s lives.


The past continuous tense is also known as the past progressive tense.


Finally, we can use this tense alone or combine with past simple tense to show that an action or event happened in the middle of another action. In this way, we can talk about things that happened repeatedly but occurred in the past.


hope you’ve enjoyed learning the lesson!