The past continuous tense

Posted by Manjusha Filed in English Grammar

Form

Affirmative

I was writing.
She was writing.
You were writing.

Negative

I was not writing.
She was not writing.
You were not writing.

Question

Was I writing?
Was she writing?
Were you writing?

use

to talk about past events in progress

The past progressive is used to talk about events that were in progress around a particular past time.

The past progressive is also used to stress that an activity was in progress at every moment during a period of time.

past progressive and simple past

We often use the past progressive together with a simple past tense. The past progressive refers to a longer background action or situation; the simple past refers to a shorter action or event that happened in the middle of the longer action.

past progressive and simple past: differences

Duration

The past progressive is used to talk about temporary actions or situations. For longer, more permanent situations we use the simple past.

repeated actions

We do not normally use the past progressive to talk about repeated or habitual past actions. The simple past is used with this meaning.

However, the past progressive can be used with always, continually and similar words to talk about things that happened repeatedly and unexpectedly.

See also

Tenses
The simple present tense
The present progressive tense
The present perfect tense
The present perfect progressive tense
Present tenses to talk about the future
The simple past tense
The past progressive tense
The past perfect tense
The past perfect progressive tense
Past verb forms with present or future meaning
The simple future tense
The future progressive tense
The future perfect tense