20171217

Past Progressive / Past Continuous Tense


The main structure of Past Continuous / Past Progressive is the past form of To Be + V-ing

Notice this situation example:


Yesterday Andrew and his manager had a meeting. The meeting began at 9 o’clock and finished at 11.30. So, at 10 o’clock they were having meeting.

(At 10.00 am yesterday, they were in the middle of meeting.)


We use Past Continuous to say that someone was in the middle of doing something at a certain time in the past. The activity was started before that certain time and not finished yet:
-     What were you doing at 7.00 am this morning?
-     Last year at this time we were visiting our grand mother.

-     He was watching football match on TV at 11.00 am last night (Last night is adverb of time in the past. At 11.00 am is the certain time in the past).


In some cases we can use either Past Continuous or Past Simple without difference in meaning:
-     It rained last night (Past Simple)
-     It was raining last night (Past Continuous)


We often use PastSimple (V2) and Past Continuous (WAS/WERE + Ving) together to say that something happened in the middle of something else:
-     Sarah was cooking when it began to rain.
-     My sister was sleeping when I came home.
-     While Andrew was reading my comic, my phone rang. (At the time Andrew started to read his comic, the phone didn’t ring. In the middle of his reading (using WAS/WERE + Ving), his phone rang (use Past Form of a Verb/V2)


If something happened after another thing, We use Past Simple (V2):
-     When I saw Sarah, I called her and we had a chat
-     We were too sleepy to see the football match. So we turned off the TV and went to bed
-     My mother asked me to wash the dishes. So I stopped my reading and went to the kitchen (First, mother asked me (V2), Then, I stopped my reading (V2), Then, Went to the kitchen (V2)).


Sometimes Past Continuous (WAS/WERE + Ving) used in both part of sentences if both activities happened at the same time:
-     While Jane was reading comic in her room, her sister was having a phone call in the living room.


Compare Past Continuous and Past Simple:

Past Continuous
Past Simple
Sarah was watching TV when I called her
(When I called her, she was in the middle of her activity; watching tv)
Sarah watched TV a lot when she had holiday last month
(She watched tv wholefully, she finished her activity of watching tv)



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