Past Continuous Tense Definition, Affirmative, Negative and Interrogative Sentences

Past Continuous Tense Definition, Affirmative, Negative and Interrogative Sentences

Past Continuous Tense

The Past Continuous Tense, which expresses events or situations that have happened before, is one of the most popular Tenses. Although it seems very similar to Past Simple Tense when defined in this way, Past Continuous Tense is actually used for actions that span a certain period of time but are done in the past tense. To put it briefly, the actions that were done in the past but took a long time to be done are used with the Past Continuous Tense.

An example of Past Simple Tense: I wrote my assignment thirty minutes ago.

An example of Past Continuous Tense: I was writing my assignment when she entered to room.


Where is the Past Continuous Tense Used?

The Past Continuous Tense is used for actions that took place or were done in a certain period of time in the past but are continuing at that time. For example, “I was reading a book.” You can tell by saying, reading a book is a process that requires a process.

We also use the Past Continuous Tense for actions that took place at a time in the past but were interrupted by another action. For example, “While I was talking about today, she interrupted me.” If someone interrupts me while I am speaking, my action is interrupted. Sentences that cut Past Continuous Tense are usually made in Simple Past Tense.

You need to use the Past Continuous Tense to express actions that were done at the same time in the past. For example, “While I was cooking in the kitchen, my husband (he) was cleaning our home.” Both sentences express an action that requires a process and we use Past Continuous Tense for both sentences.

While telling a story that takes place in the past, the events that took place at that moment or the atmosphere at that moment are told with the Past Continuous Tense. It is possible that this narration is accompanied by the Past Simple Tense.

You can also use the Past Continuous Tense for the events that bother you at the transition time and that are constantly repeated. For example, “You were always interrupting me!” You can use the words constantly and always for recurring events.


Past Continuous Tense Grammar Rules

Affirmative Sentence: When making a positive sentence with Past Continuous Tense, the auxiliary verb “was” is used for I, He, She, and It; You should add the auxiliary verb “were” to You, We, and They subjects. The action you will add should be plain and should have a “-ing” suffix.

  • When Michael (he) was playing video games, Richard (he) was studying.
  • Sophia (she) was laughing at Steve’s jokes.
  • The audience was boring because of Abel’s presentation.

Negative Sentence: The only difference between a negative sentence and a positive sentence is that the auxiliary verbs with “was” and “were” are suffixed with “not”.

  • Jonathan (he) was not (wasn’t) talking anymore because he had a broken heart.
  • Isabel usually sings the song but she was not (wasn’t) singing this morning.
  • Frank (he) was not (wasn’t) worrying about his daughter’s (she) situation.

Interrogative Sentence: In interrogative sentences, the auxiliary verb should be placed at the beginning, if there is a question word, the question word should be at the beginning and the whole sentence should be lined up after this question word.

  • Why was Gregor (he) thinking about Emma’s beauty? He didn’t (did not) have any idea.
  • Why were you talking about this problem to me?
  • Was Sarah (she) needing a friend to talk to?