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Past Continuous in English: Suggested and Practical Exercises

Past Continuous in English: Suggested and Practical Exercises



Universal-choice, with studentsPublished on October 16, 2023

Study Time:

3 minutes

Learning English involves mastering a variety of verbs, each of which conveys a specific temporal nuance. One of these tenses is the past continuous, also known as the past progressive. In this article, we will examine in detail the use of the past continuous, its formation rules and common uses. Get ready to immerse yourself in the world of ongoing past actions!

Past Continuous: The tense is essential to talk about a continuous action in the past

What is Past Continuous?

The Dead tense continuous verb A verb used to describe present actions that happened in the past. It indicates that the action took place at a specific time in the past, and is often used to give a detailed picture of the context or past situation.

The formation of the past continuous is relatively simple. It has two main elements: the past participle of “to be” (was/was) and an infinitive verb with the suffix “-ing”. How it is formed:

Subject + was/were + infinitive verb + -ing

For example: She was studying last night. (She was studying last night.)

Subject + was/were + not + infinitive verb + -ing

For example: They didn’t play football yesterday. (They didn’t play football yesterday.)

Was/Were + subject + infinitive verb + -ing +?

For example: Were you watching a movie? (Were you watching the movie?)

When to use Past Continuous?

  1. Past Present Actions: The past continuous is used to describe actions that were happening at a specific time in the past.

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For example: As I was cooking dinner, the phone rang. (While I was cooking dinner, the phone rang.)

2. Two actions at once: It is used to show that two actions happened at the same time in the past.

For example: While she was reading, he was watching TV. (While she read, he watched television.)

3. Past context: The past continuous can be used to create context or background for another past action.

For example: They were playing outside when it started to rain. (They were playing outside when it started to rain.)

Continue to exercise the past tense

Complete the following sentences

Choose the correct past continuous form of the verb in brackets.

  • When they __________ (dance), I ____________ (sing).

  • When he ____________ (work) in the company suddenly closed.

  • What ____________ (you/do) when the power goes out?

  • We __________ (drive) to the beach when the sun __________ (shine) bright.


  • While they were dancing, I was singing.

  • While he was working in the company, suddenly the company closed down.

  • What were you doing when the power went out?

  • We were driving to the beach when the sun was shining brightly.

Congratulations! Now you will understand better Dead tense continuous verb and its use to talk about ongoing actions in the past. Remember that practice is essential to mastering this grammar term!

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