Tag Archive | english grammar

How to Form The Past Continuous

How can we make the past continuous? Firstly, check that you know how to make the past simple to be. If not, contact us and let us help you.

Here’s the positive form:

  • I was sleeping
  • you were working
  • he was coming
  • she was reading ‘War and Peace’
  • it was raining
  • we were shopping
  • they were watching a film

Next, here’s the negative – it’s very easy, just add ‘not’:

  • I was not (wasn’t) sleeping
  • you were not (weren’t) working
  • he was not (wasn’t) coming
  • she was not (wasn’t) reading ‘War and Peace’
  • it was not (wasn’t) raining
  • we were not (weren’t) shopping
  • they were not (weren’t) watching a film

Why don’t you try some exercises here. 

And, just like the past simple, to make a ‘yes / no’ question, put ‘was / were’ in front of the subject:

  • Was I listening?
  • Were you working?
  • Was she working?
  • Was he living in Paris at the time?
  • Was it snowing when you arrived?
  • Were we eating?
  • Were they studying?

To make a ‘wh’ question (of course) put the question word at the beginning:

  • Why was I working?
  • Where were you living?
  • How was she travelling?
  • Where was he going?
  • Why was it snowing in the summer?
  • What were we eating?
  • Why were they studying?

Can BBE help you?

Past Continuous, Examples of Use

The past continuous tense in English is used quite often, especially when telling stories!

Here are some examples

1 A continuous action in the past which is interrupted by another action or a time:was taking a bath when the telephone rang.
At three o’clock, I was working.
2 Background information, to give atmosphere to a story:It was a beautiful day. The birds were singing, the sun was shining and in the cafes people were laughing and chatting.
3 An annoying and repeated action in the past, usually with ‘always’:He was always leaving the tap running.
(In the same way as the present continuous)
4 For two actions which happened at the same time in the past:

Mike was sleeping while we were working.

Mike was sleeping while we were working. Check out our post on sleeping at work. It is funny!

was watching TV while he was reading.

At BBE, we’re here to help!!!

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