ENGLISH 4U
English Language Learning

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Past Progressive

The past progressive is also called past continuous.

How to form the Past Progressive

We form the past progressive with was or were and the ing-form of the verb.

Positive Negative
I was working. I wasn't (was not) working.
You were singing. You weren't (were not) singing.
He was running. He wasn't (was not) running.
She was laughing. She wasn't (was not) laughing.
It was sleeping. It wasn't (was not) sleeping.
   
We were enjoying. We weren't (were not) enjoying.
You were playing. You weren't (were not) playing.
They were reading. They weren't (were not) reading.

 

Key words: while (während), when (als)

Use of the Past Progressive

1. Shows that an action in the past lasted a long time.

Example: What were they doing yesterday?

2. If an action happened, while another action took place. We use the past simple for the short action and the past progressive for the long action.

Examples:
When Tom was cooking, he burnt his hand.
They came home when she was studying for the test.

3. Two long past actions happened at the same time. We use the past progressive for both actions.

Examples:
While I was repairing my bike, she was watering the flowers.
He was watching TV while she was reading a book.

 

No Progressive Form


EXERCISES

Past progressive - Exercise 1 - positive and negative statements
Past progressive - Exercise 2 - positive and negative statements
Past progressive - Exercise 3 - positive sentences and questions
Past simple or past progressive - Exercise 1
Past simple or past progressive - Exercise 2
Past simple or past progressive - Exercise 3
Past simple or past progressive - Exercise 4
Past simple or past progressive - Exercise 5
Past simple or past progressive - Exercise 6