We can define the past continuous as a tense of a verbal nature that is in charge or in charge of describing or identifying actions that were carried out or executed in a previous time to which it refers and later continued.
In this sense, we can define that the continuous past refers to actions that have already been performed previously at a certain time. The structure of the past continuous is based on the constitution in conjunction with the auxiliary verb “to be” in its past presentation while the main verb is explained in the infinitive with the ending in ING.
Structure of the past continuous
Seen in another way, in a simple equation, we can establish the structure of a sentence in the past continuous as follows:
Auxiliary verb to be + verb + ing
We can then establish the following:
Subject: i, he, she, it / auxiliary to be: was / verb + ing: talking, doing, going, learning, etc.
Subject: you, we, they / auxiliary to be: were / verb + ing: talking, doing, going, learning, etc.
- In affirmative sentences the structure is as follows:
Subject + auxiliary verb to be + verb + ing
- In negative sentences the structure is:
Subject + auxiliary verb to be + not + verb + ing
- In interrogative sentences the structure is:
Auxiliary verb to be + subject + verb + ing?
Uses of the past continuous
- The past continuous is used to execute an action in development in the past tense when it is interrupted by another action established in the past simple. An example of this we can visualize it in when and while that are in charge of pointing out the handling of the simple and continuous past.
- It is also used to talk about certain actions carried out at a specific time in the past tense.
- It is used to describe two actions that occurred simultaneously in the past tense.
Examples of the past continuous in English
- when i left, he was practicing english
- they were eating when i walked to the library
- he was writing while i ate pizza
- we were trying to buy it when i broke a window
- she was working out while he wrote a post
- i was reading a book while my mon cooks
- when i ran away, she was buying cloth
- we were selling cake, and he brougth the water
- my dog was running, when my wife filled a glass of water
- my baby was sleeping while our neighbors had a party