Past Continuous (Progressive) Tense
The past progressive is formed with the past of be + the -ing form.
It was waiting, playing, walking ....etc.
The use of the past continuous tense
We use this tense:
1. for actions which continued for some time. In this case it is more important how long the action lasted than when in it was finished:
He was washing his car yesterday afternoon.
2. for duration of an event at one point in the past:
What were you doing yesterday afternoon/ yesterday between 6 and 7?
At 6 o’clock I was sleeping.
3. To express gradual development: I was getting darker.
4. For two past actions running parallel to each other. They may not have begun at the same time but during the period under consideration they were in progress at the same time: Mary way playing the piano while John was singing.
5. For a past action in progress which was suddenly interrupted by another past action.
In this case the action that lasted is presented by the Present Continuous Tense while the action that interrupted the first action is presented in Present Simple Tense:
Mary was preparing lunch when John arrived.
When John arrived Mary was washing the dishes.
We can see the very slight difference between the Present Simple Tense and the Present Continuous Tense in the next examples:
From 2 to 4 John was washing his car. (here the accent is on the duration of the action of washing car)
From 2 to 4 John washed his car. (here what is the most important is that he finished that action in this period)
- Verbs tenses
- Present Tenses
- Present Simple Tense
- Present Continous Tense
- Present Perfect Tense
- Present Perfect Continuous Tense
- Past Tenses
- Past Simple Tense
- Past Continuous (Progressive) Tense
- Past Perfect Tense
- Future Tenses
- The Simple Future Tense
- Future Continuous Tense
- Future Perfect Tense
- Future Perfect Continous Tense
- Stative and dynamic verbs
- Transitive and intransitive verbs
- Reflexive verbs
- Full verbs and auxiliary verbs
- Modal verbs
- Indirect speech