Past Progressive Tense

(also called Past Continuous)


Past Progressive is a very common tense in English. You should understand it, and know it well.

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Stories and Exercises to Practice the Perfect Tenses

Stories and Exercises to Practice the Progressive Tenses


What's next?

  1. Read and understand the following explanations and examples

  2. Read and understand the Rules

  3. Practice, practice, practice with the Exercises


How do We Use the this Tense?

Past Progressive is a form of the verb that shows the action was in progress at a certain point, or at some time period in the past.

For example:
  • Yesterday at 7 o'clock Judi was washing the dishes.
  • Judi was washing the dishes the entire evening.

Past Progressive is often used together with Simple Past.

For example:
  • While Judi was washing the dishes the phone rang.


Here are the different usages of this tense:


Make sure you also read:

Examples of Typical Time Expressions


Actions that were in progress at a certain point or at a certain time period in the past

(The verbs are in bold)



He was flying all day.

a man on a flight




Yesterday morning the kids were playing.

kids playing



He was sitting outside for too long.

a boy in the rain




Last night at 8 o'clock we were dancing.

a couple dancing



He was working at 10 o'clock this morning.

a postman



While he was jumping, she was watching him.

a jumping man, and a lady



Dave was hitting the drums and Joe was blowing the trombone.

a music band


He was walking when he stumbled and fell.

a guy on the pavement


While they were sleeping, he got into trouble.

people and a slideshow



Annoying repeating actions in the past


He was always resting.

a guy resting at an office



She was always leaving me with all the paperwork.

a girl with a lot of paperwork


He was always sleeping on duty.

a cop sleeping on duty


Examples of
Typical Time Expressions

  • While
  • As
  • During
  • All afternoon
  • All night

Boy writing happily


What's Next?

  1. If you want, you can REREAD the previous explanations and examples

  2. Read and understand the Rules

  3. Practice, practice, practice with the Exercises

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