35 Past Continuous Tense Examples (Read This First)

Past progressive tense is known as “past continuous tense”. It refers to the action which was happening in the past at some time.

Some examples of the “past continuous tense” are given below.

1. Amal was taking rest when he got tired.

2. At 7 o’clock, Rahul was reading.

3. Rabi was working at 10 pm last night.

4. What was Sayan doing when Rajib arrived?

5. My mother was cooking when I telephoned her.

6. Kanika went home because it was evening.

7. Kanak was watching TV when I telephoned.

8. Bibek was wondering if I could meet him at noon.

9. My brother was always getting late from the school days.

10. While I was falling asleep, we heard a strange noise.

11. Kabita and Samir were having their lunch at 1:30 pm.

12. My sister was planning to join the Midnapore Public School but she chose the Govt. school.

13. While teacher was entering the class, students stopped their noises.

14. The girl was singing as long as she could.

15. The ship was rigging for a long journey.

16. Why students were not attending the class yesterday?

17. Koushik was waiting for a breakthrough in his life.

18. They were speaking constantly as if we paid attention to them.

19. The party was going on all the evening.

20. It was raining continuously when I returned home.

21. The boys were not making their agenda for publishing a magazine.

Now Let us see some facts which are related to “past continuous tense” below.

Past continuous tense structure

Let us discuss some structures of the “past continuous tense” which are given here.

The structure of the “past continuous tense” is: Subject + Auxiliary Be (Conjugated in simple past – Was/Were) + Main Verb (Present Participle).

ExampleType of sentenceExplanation
22. Kausturi was bracing up all the text books before the final test.Assertive sentence Subject+ was/were+ verb-ing (Participle). This structure follows the pattern of the assertive sentence.
23. Sathi was not preparing her lesson in the class.Negative sentenceSubject+ was not/were not + verb-ing (Participle). This structure follows the negative sentence.
24. Was sonali coming to my house?Interrogative sentenceWas/were+ Subject+ verb-ing (Participle)+ ? It follows the pattern of interrogative sentence.
25. Were Krishna and Puja not going to the party yesterday.Negative interrogative sentenceWas not/were not+ Subject+ verb-ing (Participle) + ? It follows the pattern of Negative interrogative sentence.
Structure of Past continuous Tense

Past continuous tense formula

Have a look at the formula of the “past continuous tense” in the following paragraph here.

The “past continuous tense” is formulated by combining the past tense of be verb (i.e., was/were) with the present participle (—ing word).

Example           FormulaExplanation
26. Tulika was reading in the class XIISubject + was/were+ present participle (verb with —ing)    This assertive sentence is following the formula of “past continuous tense”.
27. Rumeli was anchoring in the cultural programme.Subject + was/were+ present participle (verb with —ing)    This assertive sentence is following the pattern of “past continuous tense
Formula of Past Continuous Tense

The formula of the above examples are following the pattern -Subject + was/were+ present participle (verb with —ing)

What is past continuous tense?

Let us discuss what “past continuous tense” is for deep understanding.

The past continuous tense or past progressive tense is the tense which describes an action or situation. It began in the past and is still continuing the actions in the present time.

ExampleType of sentenceExplanation
28. Tarun was not drawing a picture in the class room when I saw there.Assertive sentenceHere the sentence alludes the interruption of the action in the past progressive tense.
29. Sabitri and Tuhin were contributing each other in the social works.Assertive sentenceThe sentence shows the joint ownership in the past continuous tense.
Examples of “Past Continuous Tense”

Where to use past continuous tense-

We can use past continuous tense where the time expressions in plying. Let us see here.

Time expressions used with the past progressive tense-

  1. When
  2. While
  3. Always
  4. Constantly
  5. At the time
  6. In those days
  7. All evening
  8. For hours
30. What was Ranabir acting when he was in the theatre hall?To describe the interrupted action in the pastThe interruption is usually a shorter action in the simple past.
31. The children were improving their skills day by day.To indicate the growth, improvement or changeThe growth indicates the improvement in something gradually.
Where to use “Past Continuous Tense”

Why to use past continuous tense-

Let us discuss why we use “past continuous tense”.

Past continuous tense” is used because it indicates the action in the past which was going on for some time.

32. The girl was glowing when she was in her teen. The girl was brightening the room with proper decoration.Active voiceThis statement is in the past continuous tense and in active voice.
33. Rabi was continuing his studies while it was 12 o’clock last night. The room was being brightened with proper decoration by the girl.Passive VoiceThis statement is in the past continuous tense and in passive voice.
Examples of “Past Continuous Tense

How to use past continuous tense-

Let us check how we can use “past continuous tense” in the sentences.

Past continuous tense can be used in the following ways-

  • Past continuous tense is used to describe parallel actions
  • Past continuous tense is used to describe what someone was doing at a particular in time.
  • Past continuous tense is used to express interrupted action in the past.
  • Past continuous tense is used to describe repetition and irritation.

Now we will see here some examples in support of the “past continuous tense”.

ExamplePurpose Explanation
34. The women were noising in the bus again and again.To show the interrupted action in the past.The past continuous tense indicates the idea that something irritating.
35. The play was stopped at 6 PM, because the audience were interrupting the match. To describe what something was done at a particular time.In the past continuous a specific time can interrupt the action to indicate it.
Examples of “Past Continuous Tense”


“Past continuous tense is remarkably used to express the action or event was happening in the past.