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Past Continuous Tense - Yes/No Questions

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. Look at three examples.
  • I was walking in the park when a ball hit my head.
  • She was studying while her brother was sleeping.
  • It was raining all day yesterday.
We can make simple yes/no questions by putting a past tense "be verb" first in the sentence.

Was/Were + subject + verb(-ing)...?
  • Were you studying at the library last night?
  • Was he crying earlier?
  • Were they fighting this morning?
Like other yes/no questions, there are long and short answers. Look at the pattern below.

Were you working from 3 to 5 yesterday?
  • Yes, I was working yesterday from 3 to 5.
  • Yes, I was working.
  • Yes, I was.
  • Yes.
Was he working with you last year?
  • No, he wasn't working with me last year.
  • No, he was not working with me.
  • No, he wasn't.
  • No.
Here are some example sentences and conversations along with some extra practice to help you master this English verb tense.

Example Questions
  • Was he watching TV at 1 am?
  • Was Mark talking on the phone to his wife earlier?
  • Was it raining earlier?
  • Was the boy studying when you saw him?
  • Was she walking with somebody when you met her?
  • Was he talking on the phone as he was driving?
  • Was the girl crying when you saw her?
  • Was the chef preparing the dinner when he burned his hand?

  • Were you cooking at 3 am?
  • Were the people yelling during the meeting?
  • Were the children laughing when you saw them?
  • Were the workers crying after they heard the company will close?
  • Were the machines working yesterday?
  • Were the computers operating well last week?
  • Were the men watching the football game when you were there?
  • Were the people crying while they were watching the movie?
English Conversation 1

A) Were you crying?
B) No, why?
A) It looks like you were crying. Your eyes look red.
B) That is strange. I wasn't crying.

English Conversation 2

A) Were the children studying when you saw them?
B) No, they weren't.
A) Were they playing?
B) When I saw them, they were watching TV.
A) Really? I told them they couldn't watch TV!

Practice a lot and you will speak better English, and you will remember this English grammar point better. Finish these questions and then practice making your own questions.

Tip: Say the questions aloud. This will help you practice speaking English and improve your pronunciation and fluency.

Were you _______________ last night?
Were you _______________ while he was _______________?
Was he _______________ when you saw him?
Was it raining when _______________?
Were the roads icy when _______________?
Were you happy when you were _______________?
Was she _______________ when you _______________?
Were you _______________ while he was _______________?

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