The past continuous:
The past continuous, also called past progressive, is used to refer to an action that was continuous (i.e. an action that was going on) at a particular time in the past.
The form of the past continuous:
The past continuous is formed as follows:
|to be in the simple past||+ verb||+ ing|
The affirmative form:
|I, he, she, it||was||playing.|
|you, we, they||were|
- Yesterday evening I was watching a film, when someone knocked on the door.
- This morning I was revising my lessons when my father came in.
- Jim and Liza were playing tennis yesterday at 11:00.
The interrogative form:
|Was||I, he, she, it||Playing?|
|were||you, we, they|
- What were you doing yesterday evening?
- And what was your mother doing?
- Where were you going, this morning at 7:30?
- What were Jim and Liza doing?
The negative form:
|I, he, she, it||was not / wasn't||playing.|
|you, we, they||were not / weren't|
- I wasn't reading a book yesterday evening; I was watching a film.
- My mother wasn't preparing dinner; she was working on the computer.
- We weren't playing cards.
The use of the past continuous:
- We use the past continuous to say that somebody was in the middle of doing something at a certain time in the past.
"This time yesterday, I was doing my homework."
- We use the past continuous to say that something happened in the middle of something else:
"Bob burnt his hand when he was cooking dinner yesterday"
"While I was working in the garden, I hurt my back."
- "Wasn't playing" and "weren't playing" are the short forms of "was not playing" and "were not playing"