Past Continuous or Progressive Tense

In this section you will learn information the different uses of the past continuous / progressive tense with examples.

Uses of the Past Continuous Tense

For a past action that was happening at a specific time.

I was playing videogames last night.
Simon’s dad was watering the plants at 7 o’clock.
At 5 o’clock this morning, it was snowing.

To talk about two actions that were happening at the same time in the past.

While I was watering the plants, she was feeding the dogs.
While Megan was singing, we were dancing.
They were playing videogames while I was doing homework.

For an action that was happening (past continuous) and was interrupted by another action (past simple).

I was cleaning the kitchen when I heard something.
Kate was playing with her cat when her mom called her.
We were having breakfast when my cousins arrived.

To give background information about someone or something in a narrative.

Jim was at the park. People were having picnics and their kids were playing and running around.
As the sun was setting, many people gathered to take photographs of the sky.
The concert was about to start. Fans were singing and enjoying themselves.

In the following table, you will find information about the structure of the past continuous or progressive tense and positive, negative and interrogative sentences.

Past continuous or progressive tense table with examples and structure or form. Positive, negative and interrogative sentences.

More information about English verb tenses here.