English Tense: Past Continuous
(Subject + was/were + I form of the Verb + ing…)
(i) The Past Continuous Tense denotes an action going on in the past. In order to form Past Continuous Tense we add Present Participle to was or were:
The train was running at full speed.
(ii) In Negative form [‘not’ is placed between the helping verb and the principal verb:
(Subject + was/were + not + Verb + ing…)
She was not weeping.
You were not solving the sums.
(iii) In Interrogative form [the helping verb is placed before the subject:
(Was/were + Subject + Verb + ing + … ?)
Were the sheep grazing in the field?
Was the gardener plucking flowers ?
Uses of the Past Continuous Tense:
(i) The Past Continuous Tense is used to express an action that was happening in the Past at the time of speaking. The time of the action may or may not be mentioned.
Examples: The old lady was crying at the top of her voice.
They were not making a noise.
Were the milkmen milking the cows?
(ii) The use of this tense with Simple Past Tense denotes that the previous action was going on when the latter action took place:
My mother was cooking the food when I reached home.
I was ironing my clothes when my friend telephoned to me.
Roshan was taking tea when I visited his house.