Structure of Past Continuous Tense

This post includes detailed expressions about past continuous tense and its structures in english. Please follow the list about Structure of Past Continuous Tense;

The tenses simply show the time of an action.

Past Continuous Tense  indicates an action which started in the past and continued in a certain time period. The point to be taken into consideration is that the action started in the past and the continuity of the action was also in the past, so it does not continue at this moment. 

The Structures of Past Continuous/Progressive Tense


  • Subject + BE ( was / were ) + Verb-ING


  • Subject + BE ( was / were ) + NOT + Verb-ING


  • BE ( was / were ) + Subject + Verb-ING


  • YES / NO + Subject + BE (was/were) / BE(was/were) NOT 

I was starting I was not (wasn’t) starting Was I starting
You were starting You were not (weren’t) starting Were you starting
He was starting He was not (wasn’t) starting Was he starting
She was starting She was not (wasn’t) starting Was she starting
It was starting It was not (wasn’t) starting Was it starting
We were starting We were not (weren’t) starting Were we starting
You were starting You were not (weren’t) starting Were you starting
They were starting They were not (weren’t) starting Were they starting

Positive Sentences ( Sbj + BE(was/were) + Ving )


  • You were watching television last night.
  • They were studying math yesterday.
  • was washing the dishes when the phone rang.
  • As she was reading the book, Alice came.
  • The students were drawing beautiful pictures when the teacher entered the classroom.
  • It was raining yesterday evening.
  • was learning German last year.
  • was crying while he was laughing.
  • He was working when I called him.

Negative Sentences ( Sbj + BE(was/were) NOT + Ving )


  • You were not (weren’t) watching television last night.
  • They were not (weren’t) studying math yesterday.
  • was not (wasn’t) washing the dishes when the phone rang.
  • As she was not (wasn’t) reading the book, Alice came.
  • The students were not (weren’t) drawing beautiful pictures when the teacher entered the classroom.
  • It was not (wasn’t) raining yesterday evening.
  • I was not (wasn’t) learning German last year.
  • She was not (wasn’t) crying while he was laughing.
  • He was not (wasn’t) working when I called him.

Question Sentences ( BE(was/were) + Sbj + Ving )


  • Were you watching television last night?
  • Were they studying math yesterday?
  • Was I washing the dishes when the phone rang?
  • Was she reading the book when they came?
  • Were the students drawing beautiful pictures when the teacher entered the classroom?
  • Was it raining yesterday evening?
  • Was he learning German last year?
  • Were you crying while he was laughing?
  • Was he working when I called him?