What is past progressive tense?

What is the PAST PROGRESSIVE TENSE?

In this lesson, we will learn about the past progressive tense. Here, you will learn the rules, understand the usages and relate with the conversation of past progressive tense.

What are the RULES of past progressive tense?

TO HAVE

  • POSITIVE:  SUB + WAS/WERE + HAVE + ING + OBJECT
  • NEGATIVE:  SUB + WAS/WERE + NOT + HAVE + ING + OBJECT
  • INTERROGATIVE:  WAS/WERE + SUB + HAVE + ING + OBJECT?
Positive (TO HAVE)Negative (to have)Negative short formYes / No questions
I was havingI was not havingI wasn’t havingWas I having?
You were havingYou were not havingYou weren’t havingWere you having?
He was havingHe was not havingHe wasn’t havingWas he having?
She was havingShe was not havingShe wasn’t havingWas she having?
It was havingIt was not havingIt wasn’t havingWas it having?
We were  havingWe were not havingWe weren’t havingWere we having?
They were  havingThey were not havingThey weren’t havingWere they having?

TO DO (ACTION VERBS)

  • POSITIVE: SUB  + WAS/WERE + VERB + ING + OBJECT
  • NEGATIVE: SUB + + WAS/WERE  + VERB + ING + OBJECT
  • INTERROGATIVE: + WAS/WERE  + SUB + VERB + ING + OBJECT?
Positive (of ‘play’)Negative (of ‘play’)Negative short formYes / No questions
I was playing.I was not playing.I  wasn’t playing.Was I playing?
You were playing.You were not playing.You weren’t playing.Were you playing?
He was playing.He was not playing.He wasn’t playing.Was he playing?
She was playing.She was not playing.She wasn’t playing.Was she playing?
It was playing.It was not playing.It wasn’t playing.Was it playing?
We were playing.We were not playing.We weren’t playing.Were we playing?
They were playing.They were not playing.They weren’t playing.Were they playing?

Past Progressive Tense- Usages

Usage 1

To express an action that was happening in the past at the time of speaking. For example –

  • My neighbour was racking my mind.
  • My mother was clearing the cobweb.
  • We were enjoying the party.
  • They were trying to convince grandfather for buying a new house.
  • The mechanic was repairing the washing machine.
  • We were planning our trip to Mauritius.

Usage 2

It refers to two contrasting activities in the past that were in progress at the same time. For example –

  • Last evening, I was writing an assignment and my child was playing.
  • When he was returning home, I was preparing dinner.
  • She was getting ready for a job while other family members were sleeping.
  • He was giving impish smile when father was admonishing him.
  • My friend was grumbling while his mom was scolding him.
  • He was working hard when the family was facing a tough time.

Usage 3

To draw attention to the repetition of activity during a period of time in the past. For example –

  • She was always dozing during the afternoon hours.
  • The baby was crying at the time of bathing when winters were there.
  • They were helping my brother when my brother lived at their home.
  • They were retrieving data from this computer before it went out of order.
  • They were paying electricity bill online for the last few months.
  • He was burning his midnight oil, during his exams.

CONVERSATION ON PAST PROGRESSIVE TENSE

PAST PROGRESSIVE TENSE

Sarah- What were you watching on phone and why were you hiding it? I was not trying to see even.

Sam- If you were not trying to see then why were you standing on my head?

Sarah- I was just keeping an eye on you. One day mom was saying that you are my responsibility. So I was doing my job, that’s it.

Sam- You were not doing your job. You were trying to know with whom I was chatting.

Sarah- Even if I was doing so, was I harming you?

Sam- Yes! You were hampering my right to privacy.

Sarah- I was not doing so. I was just trying to save you if you were doing anything wrong.

Sam- You were not stopping me from doing anything wrong. Actually, you were doing wrong.

Sarah- Oh my God! Why was I trying to save this obstinate guy? I think I was killing my time.

Read more : Simple Past Tense, Past perfect tense

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