Past Progressive/ Continuous (toda matéria está em inglês)

Past Progressive/ Continuous - Use The Past Progressive is used when we talk about something which was happening at a special time in the past. It is also called Past Continuous.

Have a look at the following examples:

1) Action was in progress at special time in the past

Peterwas reading a book yesterday evening.

2) Two actions were hapenning at the same time ( the actions do not influence each other)

Anne was writing a letter while Steve was reading the New York Times.

3) Together with the simple past While we were sitting at the breakfast table, the telephone rang.

Note: Past Progressive: were sitting at the table Simple Past: the telephone rang.

4) Repeated actions irritating the speaker(with always, constantly, forever)

Andrew was always coming in late.

Past Progressive/Continuous - Signal words

Signal words tell you what tense you have to use. In the Past Progressive we often use a period of time. A typical signal word is while. The Past Progressive is frequently used in sentences together with the Simple Past.

While (In this part of the sentence we usually use Past Progressive.) While we were watching TV, Andy was surfing the internet. when (In this part of the sentence we usually use Simple Past. The Past Progressive is used in the other part of the sentence.) The ladies were talking when the accident happened.

Past Progressive/Continuous - Form We use a form of to be (was or were), the infinitive of the verb and the ending –ing. to be (was, were) + infinitive + -ing

Affirmative sentences:

I/he/she/it was playing football. We/you/they were playing football. NOTE: Use was with I, he, she, it - and were with all other pronouns. In affirmative sentences we do not use short forms in the Past Progressive.

Negative sentences:

I/he/she/it was not playingfootball. We/you/they were not playing football. We use short forms in the Past Progressive in negative sentences: I/he/she/it wasn't playing football.


In the Past Progressive we put the auxiliary (was or were) before the subject (Auxiliary - Subject - Verb - Rest). Was I/he/she/it playing football? Were we/you/they playing football?