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University of VictoriaIntroduction to IT English
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Past Continuous Tense


The past continuous describes actions continuing in the past.


Graham was working this morning.


The past continuous tense —

  • has the structure was/were + verb-ing.
  • describes actions happening at a specific point in the past.
  • describes actions happening at the same time in the past.
  • describes actions that were happening when a second action (simple past) happened.
  • is not used with the verbs “be”, “believe”, “belong”, “forget”, “have”, “hear”, “know”, “like”, “love”, “need”, “prefer”, “remember”, “see”, “seem”, “understand”, or “want”.
  • uses “not” between was/were and the verb-ing to make a negative sentence.
  • uses was/were as auxiliary verbs to make questions.