Past Continuous Tense

The past continuous tense is similar to the present continuous. The difference is that the verb ‘to be’ in the sentence structure is written in the past tense.

Instead of “I am working.” (present continuous) it becomes “I was working.” (past continuous.)

The past continuous describes actions or events in a time before now, which began in the past and were still going on when another event occurred. Have a look at the past continuous chart.

Positive Negative Question
I was working I wasn’t working Was I working?
You were working You weren’t working Were you working?
He/she/it was working He/she/it wasn’t working Was he/she/it working?
We were working We weren’t working Were we working?
They were working They weren’t working Were they working?
Table shown past continuous structure 

Note that the chart also gives you not only positive statements, but also negative statements along with questions all formed using the past continuous.

Here are some further examples demonstrating for you the use of the past continuous.


  • They were playing basketball after school.
  • He was eating his lunch.
  • It was raining tonight.
  • We weren’t watching the movie.
  • They were going to the library.
  • He was doing a good job.
  • Were they working hard?
  • Was it cold last night?