Today we’ll talk about the Past Continuous Tense. The past continuous tense is most often used for actions happening at some time in the past.
How to form the Past Continuous:
When to use the Past Continuous:
- For actions happening at some time in the past:
When we want to talk about an action that was happening over a period of time in the past, we use the past continuous tense. Look at these examples:
- At this time last week I was lying on the beach in Florida.
- My mother was working in the garden so she didn’t hear the telephone when I called her yesterday..
- Sorry, I wasn’t listening. Can you say it again please?
- What were you doing at 8 o’clock yesterday?
- Why were you talking to John when I saw you in the cafeteria yesterday?
- Interrupted Action in the Past:
Use the Past Continuous to indicate that a longer action in the past was interrupted. The interruption is usually a shorter action in the Simple Past. Remember this can be a real interruption or just an interruption in time.
- I was watching TV when she called.
- When the phone rang, she was writing a letter.
- While we were having the picnic, it started to rain.
- What were you doing when the earthquake started?
- I was listening to my iPod, so I didn’t hear the fire alarm.
Information taken and adapted from: