Past Continuous use

Grammar explanations Past Continuous diagram
Past Continuous form
Past Continuous use
Past Continuous spelling
Past Continuous signal words
Exercises Past Continuous

Past Continuous Tense is used in the following situations:

1. When we talk about situations or activities which lasted at a specific moment in the past.

I was reading a book at 5 p.m.

2. When we talk about situations or activities which lasted in the past for some period of time.

She was watching TV between 6 and 8 p.m.
They were dancing the whole night.

3. When we talk about a few situations or activities which lasted simultaneously in the past.

While I was watching TV, she was cooking dinner.
The children were doingtheir homework while their parents were working in the gardern.

4. Past Continuous Tense is used in Reported Speech.

He said he was driving a car.

5. When we talk about activities in the past which were temporary.

I was living in London then.

6. When we talk about plans for the future from the past perspective.

He was meeting her in London the following week.

7. When we want to be polite.

I was wondering if you could do me a favour.

8. When we want to express anger or disappointment because of repeated annoying situation.

He was constantly making the same mistake.
She was always losing her glasses.

9. We use Past Continuous Tense instead of Present Continuous after such expressions as: I wish, if only, it's time.

I wish you weren't singing.
It's time we were working on it.