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Past continuous

Level: beginner

The past continuous is made from the past tense of the verb be and the –ing form of a verb:

I was
You were
He was
She was
It was
We were
You were
They were



We use the past continuous to talk about the past:

  • for something which happened before and after another action:

The children were doing their homework when I got home.

Compare: The children did their homework when (= after) I got home.

This use of the past continuous is very common at the beginning of a story:

The other day I was waiting for a bus when …
Last week, as I was driving to work, … 

  • for something that happened before and after a specific time:

It was eight o'clock. I was writing a letter.

Compare: At eight o'clock I wrote (= started writing) some letters.

  • to show that something continued for some time:

My head was aching.
Everyone was shouting.

  • for something that happened again and again:

was practising every day, three times a day.
They were meeting secretly after school.
They were always quarrelling.

  • with verbs which show change or growth:

The children were growing up quickly.
Her English was improving.
My hair was going grey.
The town was changing quickly.

We do not normally use the past continuous with stative verbs. We use the past simple instead:

When I got home, I really needed (NOT was needinga shower.

Past continuous


Past continuous and past simple


Level: intermediate

Past continuous and hypotheses

We can also use the past continuous to refer to the present or future in hypotheses (when we imagine something). See these pages:


I like the exercises but how can I help myself in learning grammer

Hello reemas
Doing the exercises is a great way to check your grammar and to spot any areas that you need to review.
Then you need to make sure that you are using the grammar - many students can do grammar exercises perfectly but still make a lot of mistakes in their own speaking and writing. It is important to think about the grammar points you have learned and check that you are using the correct form when you speak and write.
I hope this helps  
All the best
The LearnEnglish Team

Learn new things which you don't know then get in to the exercises daily untill you master it and don't forget to make the grammer as part of your speech.

Making mistake is how we are designed to learn.

All the best

It's good to U that U like the exercises so I think  U should do how much it's possible and reading books because it's a  very good way in learning grammer . I think so.
All the best !

No doubt! Its very great platform to learn something new in English! My English was very bad & I could not speak English fluently . But, now my English is good I use it myself daily.

I came across that website some minutes ago. I've been browsing it and I must say - great stuff.Although I haven't seen much of it yet, I'm sure I'm going to use it very often.
Thanx for that brilliant service.
regards from Austria

Greetings Kevan.
Yes, I' think many people got than some topic (like nouns section) now have an exircises and it's realy very useful! But I think it will be better if there will be more practical exercises. This, for example, is linked with undestanding of past continues grammar but I guess much of students also need some examples how to use this tense on practice. Hope you will be agreed with me :)
Best regards,
P.S. Thank you very much for creating such useful website!

 I request you to provide some exercise to practice is useful to understand the subject. 

Hi Sarathbabu.b

We have comissioned exercises for this new section of our web site and are adding them as they are completed. Hopefully there will be one for this section.

Kevan Cummins
The LearnEnglish Team