Past Continuous Tense | English Grammar

Past Continuous Tense

Past Continuous Tense

Introduction of Past Continuous Tense

As the name suggests, Past continuous tense describes an action which shows continuation, an action that happened in the past and continued to happen over a period of time.

 

How to form Present Participles of verbs

Before going into the details of past continuous tense, one must know how to form the present participle of a verb. Present participles of verbs are made by adding -ing with base form of verbs. We do have to remove -e before adding -ing to a verb if a verb is ending with it.

For example,

·         Smile becomes smiling

·         Stare becomes staring

·         Look becomes looking

 

Difference Between Past Continuous Tense And Past Perfect Continuous Tense:

Past continuous tense shows an action that continued to happen until another action took place. While past perfect continuous tense shows an action that continued to happen even after another action took place.

 

Dynamic Verbs and Stative Verbs

We must also take into notice that verbs are divided into two groups, dynamic and stative. Dynamic verbs show an action or process, while stative verbs describe emotions.

 

Dynamic Verbs

Dynamic verbs show an action or process. We use the present participle form of dynamic verbs in continuous tenses.

For example,

·         He was yelling at his friend.

·         The dog was barking in the street.

 

Stative Verbs

Stative verbs describe emotions, thoughts, states and conditions. Stative verbs are used in simple and perfect tenses. They cannot be used in a continuous form.

For example, the following sentences are not grammatically correct.

·         He was caring for his mother when she was sick. (Wrong)

·         He cared for his mother when she was sick. (Right)

·         The book that you found in the library was belonging to me. (Wrong)

·         The book that you found in the library belonged to me. (Right)

 

Dynamic verbs

Stative verbs

Become

Deny

Go

Care

Clean

Believe

Throw

Suppose

Talk

Imagine

Walk

Own

Cry

Want

Learn

Hate

Write

Forget

Read

Appreciate

Grow

Need

Weep

Like

Write

Doubt

 

How to make affirmative sentences in the past continuous tense?

To make an affirmative sentence in past continuous tense, we use the following formula,

Subject + was/were + present participle + object

For example,

·         Sarah was coming home from work.

·         They were leaving the house for ten days.

·         Ali was getting late for work so he forgot to have breakfast.

·         I was talking to my father about his transfer to another town.

·         It was raining heavily the other night.

 

How to make negative sentences in the past continuous tense?

To make a negative sentence in past continuous tense, we use the following formula,

Subject + was/were not + present participle + object

For example,

·         Abrar was not talking to anyone in the class.

·         Akbar and Anthony were not watching a horror movie.

·         I was not driving the car last night.

·         The windows were not shaking due to the wind, it was something else.

·         The TV remote was not working properly.

 

How to ask questions in the Past Continuous Tense?

To ask a question in the past continuous tense, we use the following formula,

Were/was + subject + present participle + object

Or

Wh- + Were/was + subject + present participle + object

For example,

·         Were Rose and Jack going to a hill station for the vacation?

·         Whom was Hannah writing the letter to?

·         Was Ella lighting the candles that night?

·         Why were Sam and Ronald catching the birds in the cage for no reason?

·         When were Jake and John moving to the new apartment?

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