Past Progressive Tense meaning and Examples
Past Progressive Tense
What doesPast Progressive Tense mean?
Progressive tenses always happen over time, so past progressive means that the action happened over time in the past.
I was studying all night for that history test!
(This action happened over time in the past.)
Were you sleeping when I called?
(I want to know if this action was happening over time when I called.)
No, I wasn’t sleeping when you called.
(This action was not happening over time when you called.)
While Norton and Ralph were bowling, they ran into Fred and Barney.
(This action was happening over time in the past when Norton & Ralph met Fred and Barney.)
If you have a really good memory, you may remember I said that simple past can also be used to show actions that happened over time in the past.
This brings us to an important question: When should I use simple past for an action that happened over time in the past, and when should I use past progressive?
How do I make Present Progressive Tense?
was /were + verb-ing
Norton was watching T.V. when the microwave exploded.
While Thelma and Louise were driving down the highway, they noticed that a police car was following them.
Marilyn and I were sleeping when the earthquake happened.
was /were + not + verb-ing
When I woke up, I knew that it was still nighttime because the sun was not shining.
Eddie and Lumpy weren’t studying yesterday afternoon; they were watching the Lakers game.
I’m sorry; could you say that again? I wasn’t listening.
(question word) + was /were + subject + verb-ing
Was Governor Schwarzenegger cooking dinner when you called him last night?
Why was Eddie doing his math homework in English class? What were you reading last night?