How To Use The Past Continuous Tense In English Grammar

Lesson summary

Learn how to use the past continuous tense in English grammar. (Includes example sentences, pictures and timelines to help you understand.)

Video transcript

I was driving down the road, listening to some great music and then I crashed into a tree. This is the first main use of the past continuous tense.

 

You can use it to talk about interrupted actions. I was driving and then this action was interrupted. It was stopped because I crashed into a tree.

 

Another example. I was making dinner when she arrived. The audience was clapping until he fell over and hurt himself.

 

Hey what’s up guys? In this video, you’re going to learn about the past continuous. I was using my phone while filming this video.

 

The past continuous can also be used to show that two actions were happening at the same time in the past. I was using my phone at this time. I was filming this video at the same time. I was studying while he was making dinner. While I was waiting, I was listening to music.

 

The next main use for the … Shane what were you doing this morning? I called you but you didn’t answer your phone. Oh yeah, sorry about that! I was writing a script for this video this morning.

 

The next main use of the present continuous is to talk about something that was happening or in progress at a specific time in the past. At that time, I was writing a script. I had not finished at that time.

 

Some other examples. You were driving to work. The child was being naughty. In all of these three sentences, we know what was happening at a certain time in the past.

 

Okay everybody, let’s start the class! Today we are going to talk about … John, you are late again! John was coming late to class back then. This is the last main use of the past continuous.

 

It can be used to talk about a past habit that is finished. So this means he is not coming late to class anymore. It’s finished. It was in the past. Some other examples. She was always smiling when she worked there. They were always fighting when they were in a relationship.

 

They are the main uses of the past continuous. The most important thing to remember here is that the past continuous is normally used to show that an action was happening at some time in the past. It was in progress at some time in the past.

More lessons for you

Want weekly lessons?

Enter your email below and you will get 1-2 English lessons sent to your inbox every week. We may also occasionally email you updates and discounts for our products.​

See our Privacy Policy here. Unsubscribe anytime.

Want to improve your English?

Join thousands of other learners and get free English lessons, tips & tricks, strategies, news and updates!

See our Privacy Policy here. Unsubscribe anytime.

JOIN THE

English Understood Academy

Learn anytime

7 courses, 500+ lessons

Friendly community

Meet English learners and speaking partners

Helpful teachers

Ask teachers questions

Audible free trial tablet and mobile

Recent Lessons

Recent Lessons

Recent Lessons

Want weekly lessons?

Enter your email below and you will get 1-2 English lessons sent to your inbox every week. We may also occasionally email you updates and discounts for our products.​

See our Privacy Policy here. Unsubscribe anytime.

Want to improve your English?

Join thousands of other learners and get free English lessons, tips & tricks, strategies, news and updates!

See our Privacy Policy here. Unsubscribe anytime.

JOIN THE

English Understood Academy

Learn anytime

7 courses, 500+ lessons

Friendly community

Meet English learners and speaking partners

Helpful teachers

Ask teachers questions

Audible free trial tablet and mobile

Recent Lessons

Recent Lessons

Recent Lessons

Want better English?

Join thousands of other learners and get free English lessons, tips & tricks, strategies, news and updates!​
NEW English Courses
This is default text for notification bar