Past Continuous Tense in English Sentences, Rule, Formula, Examples

what is Past Continuous Tense in English?

“Past continuous tense” is a tense that shows an action that was going on in past.

  • I was sleeping.

Past continuous affirmative sentence rules

Subject + was/were + root form of verb + object.

Past continuous negative sentence rules

Subject +  was/were + not +  root form of verb + object.

Past continuous interrogative sentence rules

Was/Were + subject +  root form of verb + object.


Past Continuous Affirmative Sentence

  • First of all, translate the subject and put was or were according to the subject, ‘was’ is used with it, he, she, and I. whereas ‘were’ is used with you, we and they.
  • Then use the first form of the verb with the addition of “ing”.
  • Lastly, translate the object and put a full stop (.) at the end.


Subject + Was/were + root form of verb


+ Object
You + were + eating + pizza
We + were + eating + pizza
They + were + eating + pizza
She + was + eating + pizza
It + was + eating + pizza
I + was + eating + pizza
He + was + eating + pizza
children + were + eating + pizza


Past Continuous Affirmative Tense Examples

  • He was eating a mango.
  • The cow was grazing in the field.
  • You were buying a new book.
  • They were going for a walk.
  • Ali was reading the newspaper.
  • We were going to the library.
  • The children were playing in the street.
  • I was playing in the street.
  • He was sprinkling water in the street.
  • He was abusing him.
  • The police were chasing the thief.
  • He was wasting the time.

Past continuous tense structure image

past continuous tense affirmative sentence structure

Past Continuous Negative Sentences

  • Translate the subject.
  • Put ‘was not’ or ‘were not’ according to the subject.
  • Use the first form of verb with adding ‘ing’.


Subject + Was not/were not + root of verb+ing + object
You + were not + eating + pizza
We + were not + eating + pizza
They + were not + eating + pizza
She + was not + eating + pizza
It + was not + eating + pizza
I + was not + eating + pizza
He + was not + eating + pizza
children + were not + eating + pizza


Past Continuous Tense in English Examples

  • He was not calling you by name.
  • Sana was not baking a cake.
  • They were not making fun of you.
  • Jan was not reading a poem.
  • The boys were not making a noise.
  • He was not abusing him.
  • He was not wasting time.
  • They were not white washing the room.
  • He was not calling the roll.
  • Ali was not teasing the maid servant.
  • The boys were not making a noise in the street.

Past continuous negative structure image

past continuous tense

Past Continuous Interrogative Sentences

  • Translate the subject.
  • Then put ‘was’ or ‘were’ before the subject at the start of the sentence.
  • Use 1st form of verb with ‘ing’.


Was/were + Subject + root of verb+ing + Object
were + you + eating + pizza
were + we + eating + pizza
were + they + eating + pizza
was + she + eating + pizza
was + it + eating + pizza
was + i + eating + pizza
was + he + eating + pizza
were + children + eating + pizza

Past Continuous Tense in English Examples

  • Were we making fun of you?
  • Was the jackal howling at night?
  • Was Jan working hard?
  • Was Jan playing the piano?
  • Were the birds flying in the air?
  • Were the babies changing the clothes?
  • Was the man steeling the books?
  • Were the girls not sewing the clothes?
  • Was she not offering the prayers?

check: Our All 12 Tenses Notes

Past continuous interrogative sentence structure image

Past continuous tense sentence structure past continuous tense examples

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