The past progressive tense

Affirmative Negative Question
I was writing.
She was writing.
You were writing.
I was not writing.
She was not writing.
You were not writing.
Was I writing?
Was she writing?
Were you writing


to talk about past events in progress

The past progressive is used to talk about events that were in progress around a particular past time.

  • ‘What were you doing yesterday evening?’
  • ‘I was watching TV.’
  • At 7 am this morning, I was doing my homework.

The past progressive is also used to stress that an activity was in progress at every moment during a period of time.

  • I was resting all day yesterday.
past progressive and simple past

We often use the past progressive together with a simple past tense. The past progressive refers to a longer background action or situation; the simple past refers to a shorter action or event that happened in the middle of the longer action.

  • I was having a bath when the telephone rang.
  • As I was driving down the street, I saw Peter.
  • They were sleeping when the thieves broke in.

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