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English Grammar and Exercises for ESL learners.

Past Continuous Tense
(example : to play)

Affirmative Negative Interrogative
Long Form Contracted Form

I was playing I was not playing I wasn't playing Was I playing?
You were playing You were not playing You weren't playing Were you playing?
He/she/was playing He/she/it was not playing He/she/it wasn't playing Was he/she/it playing?
We were playing We were not playing We weren't playing Were we playiing?
You were playing You were not playing You weren't playing Were you playing?
They were playing They were not playing They weren't playing Were they playing?

The past continuous tense is used :
  • To talk about a continuous action which was in progress at a specific time in the
     past :
    • Yesterday evening, at 9 o'clock I was watching television.
    • What was I doing at 11 o'clock this morning? I was gardening.
    • At lunch-time the sun was shining.

  • It is also used in sentences with when or while, to refer to an action which
     was taking place when a shorter, brief event occurred.

    • Yesterday, while I was watching television, the phone rang.
    • When my husband arrived home yesterday, I was cooking dinner.
    • I was listening to music when the doorbell rang.
    • While she was walking down the street, she witnessed an accident.
Reminder: use of the past simple
The past simple tense is used to talk about finished actions in a finished period of time,
for example :
  • Yesterday evening I played tennis with a friend.
  • In August last year I visited New York.