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Past Continuous Tense

What is It?

It shows unfinished actions in the past―such that have begun before now, and are still in process at the moment of speaking.

When to Use

Cases Examples
* To express a sudden change of mind. – Jake was going to make her a wedding proposal, but then he looked at her once again and thought: “Nah!”
* Show that an action was taking place during a certain period of time in the past. – I was singing in the rain, but then a policeman approached me and suggested that I sing somewhere else.
* Indicate that two or more actions were performed simultaneously. – My sister was cooking, my mom was washing dishes, and my dad was busy in the garden, so on Sunday, I was the laziest member of my family.
* To show that one action was interrupted by another. – In my dream, I was riding a luxurious car and bathing in money, but then my alarm clock rang and I realized that it was time for me to go to the office.
* To emphasize the course of action that was taking place in the past. – She was taking a bath.


– The past continuous can be used with the word “wonder” to make an extremely polite request.

e.g. I was wondering whether you could borrow me some money?


– The past continuous can be recognized by such words as while, when, as long as.

e.g. While her friend was on his way to her place, she quickly washed up.

e.g. When I was heading home from work, I noticed something weird in the streets.

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