Past Progressive Tense

Past Progressive Tense



Past progressive tense is used to indicate that an action was in progress when another action occurred in the past.

Past progressive (was/were + Ving) refers to the action in progress, and simple past tense refers to the “interrupting” action.

  • While I was eating dinner, the telephone rang.
  • The telephone rang while I was eating dinner.
  • When the telephone rang, I was eating dinner.
  • I was eating dinner when the telephone rang.

Past continuous can also be used to indicate only one action which occurred in the past:

  • What was John doing yesterday?
  • He was working at the factory.
  • What were they doing yesterday afternoon?
  • They were playing soccer.
  • What were you doing last night?
  • I was studying English.

See also:
Past Continuous (from

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