Past Continuous tense – Past Progressive GRAMMAR

Curso gratuito en línea para aprender inglés GRATIS – PAST CONTINUOUS / PAST CONTINUOUS – USOS y ESTRUCTURA – LECCION 32 GRAMATICA (PreIntermedio)


Song: La grange (zztop)

In this post we are going to talk about the past continuous. We will look at the syntax and the use of this tense. We are also going to compare it to the past simple and see the differences.

Past Continuous / Past Progressive


Positive form

Subject + was/were + (-ing) + Complement


–          Michael was watching the World Cup  match.
–          They were working all night long.
–          Josh and Silvia were talking about getting married.

Negative form

Subject + wasn’t/weren’t + (-ing) + Complement


–          John wasn’t eating because he was feeling sick.
–          Jeff wasn’t watching TV.
–          My parents weren’t having a good time because it was very cold in Canada

Question Form

(Question Word) + was/were + Subject + (-ing) + Complement

–          What were you doing last night at around 8:00pm?
–          Was Jim doing his homework?
–          Were they sleeping all morning?


-The complete structure: (TABLE #1)

– Past continuous is very similar IN STRUCTURE to the Present Continuous tense. The only difference is that in the present continuous we use the verb to be in the present (am/is/are) but with the past continuous we use the verb to be in the past (was/were)

Compare (TABLE #2)

Present ContinuousPast Continuous
They are  writingThey were writing
Pedro isn’t eatingPedro wasn’t eating
Where is he staying?Where was he staying?

–          We do not use the auxiliary DID with the past continuous.


We use the past continuous to talk about an action that was in progress at a certain time in the past, an action at some point in the past between its beginning and end

Example: He was working in the garden at 7 o’clock this morning.

The past continuous is used to describe an action that we were “in the middle of” at a time in the past.
–          I was watching TV at 8:00pm. (I was “in the middle of watching TV” at 8:00)
–          Miguel was cooking at noon. (At that time, Miguel was “in the middle of cooking”)

It is important to remember this concept so that in our next lesson we can compare and contrast the past continuous with the past simple.



More Exercises:

Online quizzes:

Questions with past continuous (past progressive)