Past Continuous – English grammar courses

We use the Past Continuous to talk about actions that started in the past but is not complete. It is also used to describe something, to describe an action that was interrupted or to express change of plans. The form of this tense is Subject + To be (in the past) + Infinitive + Ing.


First person Notes
Yesterday at this time, I was still driving the car. Actions that are unfinished that need to be followed up by further actions.
We started talking towards the store.
The sun was shining that day. Description of things that happened in the past.
The was coming out at that time.
I was reading the book when you came. Actions that were interrupted.
When the phone rang, we were eating dinner.
I was going to read a book but I stopped. Expressions of changing plans.
She was going to come home but she stayed at her friend’s instead.

You can ask questions with the present continuous tense by using the following words for the relevant pronouns:

  • “Was” for he, she, it. For example: Was she working at that time?
  • “Were” for you, we and they. For example: Were they walking here?


You can add “not” after “was” or “were”. For example: Was he not walking here? Were they not attending the meeting?


You can abbreviate “was not” to “wasn’t” and “were not” to “weren’t”.


Let’s do some exercises with what we have learned already. Place the appropriate past continuous word in the gaps and make sure to include “were” and “was”: play, cook, ski, open, wear, shop, take, drive, sing, write, snow, walk.


  1. They _________ in the karaoke.
  2. Lisa ________ a new red dress.
  3. Mark _______ football with Johnny.
  4. He ______ a new novel when I came to meet him.
  5. We ________ the car to the park when we saw her.
  6. I _________ dinner for everyone last night.
  7. A new store _______ when we were ______ around the city.
  8. It ______ (was/were) cold and _______ when we went _______.
  9. When it started raining, we ______ (was/were) still _______ for groceries.
  10. In January, he _____ (was/were) always ______ the bus to school.