We use the past continuous tense to talk about actions or events that happened or continued for a certain amount of time in the past.
It is often used for:
1. giving background information for a story
- I was riding my bike when all of sudden I saw three police officers chasing a thief.
2. tell two things that were happening at the same time in the past
- I was fixing the car while my brother was telling me a story.
3. tell about events or actions that continued for a certain period of time in the past
- He was crying like a baby all day.
Here is how you make a sentence in the past continuous. Subject + was/were + verb(-ing)...
- I was working late last night when I was a ghost.
- You were talking in your sleep again last night.
- They were being loud last night.
Put the word "not" after the "be verb" to make a negative sentence.
- I was not walking in the park at 3 pm yesterday.
- We were not talking about you.
- Greg was not studying with us last night.
Look at some examples of using the past continuous when telling a story. We can use it at the beginning or end of the sentence, and we can use many different words to connect the two parts.
- I burned my hand when I was cooking last night.
- She was riding her bike in the street when all of a sudden a bird flew into her stomach.
- They were laughing and then they started crying all of a sudden.
- I was sleeping and I heard a loud sound.
This grammar can be very useful especially when you are telling a story, so it is definitely worth practicing. Example Sentences
English Conversation 1
- I was cooking dinner while my wife was cleaning the bedroom.
- It was raining when I got up this morning.
- She was crying when I saw her last night.
- He was studying hard when I saw him at the library.
- Many people were waiting in line when I went to the store.
- The kids were playing happily in the garden when I went to her house.
- People were yelling at the lawmaker during the meeting.
- She was sleeping peacefully when a loud sound woke her up.
- I was making a U-turn when another car ran into me.
- The dogs were playing while their owner rested under a tree.
- People were crying while they watched the movie.
- The children were singing during the party.
- The chef was preparing the food while the waiters were preparing the table.
- The police were looking for the robbers on this street last night.
A) Was I too loud last night?
B) Yes. What were you doing?
A) Sorry. I was working on my project for my engineering class.
B) What is it?
A) I have to build a wooden model of a famous building.
B) What was all the noise?
A) I was hammering and sawing all of the pieces last night. But don't worry I am finished now. English Conversation 2
A) I was walking through the shopping mall and I saw Jim yesterday.
B) What was he doing there?
A) He was working at the ice cream store.
B) I didn't know that he works there.
A) Me either. I was surprised to see him. Practice speaking English by finishing the sentences below and then practice making your own sentences. It is the best way to learn English and improve your English fluency.Tip: Say the sentences aloud. This will help you practice speaking English and improve your English fluency.
I was _______________ for a long time last night.
I was _______________ while my friend was _______________.
She was _______________ when suddenly _______________.
He was _______________ and then _______________.
They were _______________ and then _______________.
We were _______________ last night from 9 to 12.
The children were _______________ because _______________.
The people were _______________.