The Past Continuous Tense

Exam in Mind Level A1 / B1

  • Past Continuous вживається для описання дій, які тривали у певний час у минулому.
  • Past Continuous утворюється за допомогою допоміжних дієслів was (в однині) та were (у множині) та закінчення ing, яке додається до дієслова-присудка.

I / He / She / It was +V-ing
You / We / They +V-ing

Слова-маркери: when, while, as, at 6 o’clock yesterday, all morning, the whole day, from 6 till 8

The Past Continuous Tense is used:

  • to describe actions which were in the middle of the process at a stated time in the past: She was cooking supper at six o’clock yesterday.
  • to describe two or more actions which were happening at the same time in the past: She was speaking on the phone while he was watching TV.
  • to describe an action in the past which was in progress when another action interrupted it: They were talking about something when I came up to them.

Affirmative Sentences

The girl was skiing at 5 o’clock yesterday.
You were listening to music all day yesterday.
While he was reading a book, his wife was speaking on the phone.
The children were playing in the yard when their father came home.

Negative Sentences

The girl was not/wasn’t skiing at 5 o’clock yesterday.
You were not/weren’t listening to music all day yesterday.
The children were not/weren’t playing in the yard when their father came home.

Interrogative Sentences

When was she skiing?
What was he doing all the morning yesterday?
Who was reading a book?
Were the children playing in the yard?
Was she speaking on the phone?

Have practice using the Past Continuous Tense.

Exercise 1 . Complete the sentences with was or were.

  1. Charles _______cleaning his room at 4 o’clock.
  2. Peter _______ doing his homework the whole evening.
  3. Jane and her mother ________ working in the garden the whole morning.
  4. Father _______ having breakfast at 8 o’clock.
  5. I ______ having dinner when you rang me up.
  6. Kate’s mother ________ supper in the kitchen when I came in.
  7. The cat ______ sleeping when I returned home.
  8. The children _________ having a walk in the park when it began to rain.
  9. The teacher ________ on the blackboard when the bell rang.

 Exercise 2. Ask questions.

  1. Dick was making a report at 7 o’clock. – Was _______?
  2. Jane was writing a poem for the wall newspaper. – What _______?
  3. Robert was having his English at 10. – When _______?
  4. Ann was playing the piano the whole evening. – Who _______?
  5. Helen was digging potatoes the whole morning. – Was  _______?
  6. The children were going to the park when it began to rain. – Where _______?
  7. Ann was writing on the blackboard when the bell rang. – Where _______?
  8. The children were hurrying to the canteen when the teacher met them. – Were _______?

Exercise 3. Answer the following questions.

Model: What were you doing when I rang you up? –  I was playing the piano.

  1. What was Ann writing when mother entered the room?
  2. Whom were you speaking to when I saw you?
  3. What were you looking for when I opened the door?
  4. What were you laughing at when I came in?
  5. What were the children doing when it began to rain?
  6. What was Helen doing when the phone rang?
  7. What were you listening to when the teacher opened the door?
  8. What was Tom doing when his friend came?

Exercise 4. Change the sentences from Simple Present Tense to Past Continuous.

  1. She helps me. – She was helping me.
  2. My friend plays the piano.
  3. We listen to the music.
  4. You make a lot of mistakes.
  5. The farmer works in the field.
  6. The small boy rings the bell.
  7. He looks at the pictures.
  8. The workman paints the house.

Exercise 5. Change the sentences from Simple Past to Past Continuous.

  1. I opened the door. – I was opening the door.
  2. The cat slept.
  3. The boys wrote a letter.
  4. We sang a song.
  5. Thomas made a model airplane.
  6. The bell rang.
  7. Bill and Henry swam in the river.

Exercise 6. Put the verb in brackets into the Past Continuous Tense.

  1. John got off the train while it ___(go).
  2. It ___(rain) when we went out.
  3. I ___(play) the piano when he came into the room.
  4. I came into the room when Mary ___(play) the violin.
  5. John ___(work) all day yesterday.
  6. She ___ (live) in England when the War began.
  7. He hurt his foot while he ___ (climb) a tree.
  8. The baby ___ (eat) its dinner when I came home.
  9. He ___ (walk) home when the rain began.
  10.  The car hit a tree while it ___ (travel) at 60 miles an hour.

Exercise 7. Use the Past Progressive in the sentences below.

  1. I ___ (not listen), so I missed what he had said.
  2. We stayed at the camp longer because we ___ (enjoy) ourselves.
  3. ___ (they play) tennis yesterday?
  4. He ___ (garden) all weekend.
  5. ___ (you watch) television all evening?
  6. It ___ (rain) hard all day.
  7. I ___ (wonder) whether you can lend me some money.
  8. ___ (you still work) when I left?
  9. I lived in France at the time you ___ (live) in Spain.
  10. When she was younger she ___ (always do) things for other people.
  11. Bill and Sue ___ (constantly improve) their house before they moved.
  12. ___ (you read) when I rang you?
  13. Just as I ___ (get) to an interesting part of the story the doorbell rang.