English Grammar

The Basics of English Language


Past Continuous Tense

 

It is used to express a continued or ongoing action in past, an ongoing action which occurred in past and completed at some point in past. It expresses an ongoing nature of an action in past.  For example, “he was laughing.” This sentence shows ongoing action (laughing) of a person which occurred in past. Past continuous tense is also called past progressive. 

 

Rules: Auxiliary verb “was or were” is used in sentence. 1st form of verb or base verb + ing (present participle) is used as main verb in sentence.

 

                                Structure of sentence

Positive sentences
          • Subject + auxiliary verb + Main Verb (present participle) + object
          • Subject + was/were + (1st form of verb or base verb +ing) +object

If the subject is “he, she, It, I, singular or proper noun” then auxiliary verb “was” is used. If subject is “you, we, they or plural” then auxiliary verb “were” is used.
Examples.
              She was crying yesterday.
              They were climbing on a hill.

Negative sentences
         • Subject + auxiliary verb + NOT + Main verb (present participle) + object
         • Subject + was/were + NOT + (1st form of verb or base verb +ing) +object

Rules for using auxiliary verb after subject are same as mentioned above.
Examples.
             She was not crying yesterday.
             They were not climbing on a hill.

Interrogative sentences
         • Auxiliary verb + Subject + Main verb (present participle) + object
         • Was/were + Subject + (1st form of verb or base verb +ing) +object

The interrogative sentence starts with the auxiliary verb. If the subject is “he, she, It, I, singular or proper noun” then the sentence starts with auxiliary verb “was”. If subject is “you, we, they or plural” then the sentence starts with auxiliary verb “were”.
Examples.
             Was she crying yesterday?
             Were they climbing on a hill?

More Examples

Positive sentences
          They were laughing at the joker.
          He was taking exam last month
          You waiting for him yesterday
          She was working in a factory.
          It was raining yesterday.

Negative sentences
         They were not laughing at the joker.
         He was not taking exam last month
         You were not waiting for him yesterday
         She was not working in a factory.
         It was not raining yesterday.

Interrogative sentences
        Were they laughing at the joker?
        Was he taking exam last month?
        Were you waiting for him yesterday?
        Was she working in a factory?
        Was it raining yesterday?

 

RELEVANT LINKS

  1. Tenses
  2. Present Simple Tense
  3. Present Continuous Tense
  4. Present Perfect Tense
  5. Present Perfect Continuous Tense
  6. Past Simple Tense
  7. Past Perfect Tense
  8. Past Perfect Continuous
  9. Future Simple Tense
  10. Future Continuous Tense
  11. Future Perfect Tense
  12. Future Perfect Continuous