The Past Continuous; 
What is it?

Try to identify the past continuous in the following paragraph.

Yesterday I was watching TV when the phone rang. It was Shannon. She was watching Oprah, who was talking to Peter Walsh about cleaning out the clutter from your home. My mother was sitting at the table with me but she was reading a book while I ate my dinner.

Look closely. 

was watching...was watching...was talking...was sitting. 

Do you see a pattern?

[was/were + present participle]

There are several ways to use this tense but in this paragraph we can see two ways. 

The past continuous is also called the past progressive.

1) To describe an action that happens in the past and is interrupted by another action. (I was watching TV when the phone rang). 

2) To describe an action that takes place at the same time as another action. (I was eating my dinner while she read a book). 

Another way to use this grammar tense is to establish atmosphere. (The sun was shining all day).

Now that you understand the grammar let's see people using it in action.  Take a look at all the submissions below from other students like you.

Another Example for You

I was sleeping in bed when I hear Jack crying.  He was laying in his bed, holding his teddy bear.  My husband was sleeping while I gave our son breakfast.

During breakfast I was sitting at the table.  Jack was wearing his pyjamas and eating cereal with a spoon.

While I was changing his diaper the phone rang.  

What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see what I (Diana)and other visitors had to say about this assignment ...

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Past Continuous: Vacation in the British Virgin Islands 
It was the summer of 2007. I was on a two month s vacation from school and I had really wanted to go some where for a change. M y mother suggested …

Past Continuous: Around Romania 
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Past Continuous: Lost the Golf Competition. 
Last week on Saturday, I was playing golf of in the Tomyamgung golf competition. My f inal score of mine was 47-53 and with a handicap of …

Past Continuous: Vacation in Malacca 
Vacations!?! Oooo! I love them! I love to spend my vacation s with my family; my husband and my son. Our last vacation was during in November 2008, …

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I was reading the newspaper when the an idea flashed in my mind. My wife was feeding our baby when I told her my suggestion that we should take …

Past Continuous: Vacation in Chichiriviche 
I spent my week long vacation for a week at the beach with my family. My Family and I traveled in by car drove there by car . We rented a beautiful …

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Thank you so much to everyone that sent in their assignments.  Now you can benefit from the work of many students just like you.  

Visit Lesson Two: How to Give Instructions

Use the past continuous to ask me a question!

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