Conjugation & verb forms of the past continuous

(Formation of the past progressive tense in English)

Table of contents – formation past progressive

On this page you will find the following:

  1. Formation of the past continuous
  2. Verb forms of the past continuous
  3. Further explanations and exercises

Formation of the past continuous

The past continuous (also known as past progressive) is formed by conjugating the auxiliary verb ‘to be’ in the simple past, which is ‘was/were’, and adding the progressive form (ing-form or present participle) of the respective main verb. Compare the following examples as well as the table:

  • Examples showing the formation of the past continuous:
    • “He was reading a book when the telephone rang.”
    • “At five o’clock this morning my neighbors were talking very loudly.”

Verb forms of the past continuous

Example verb: ‘to drive

Positive/affirmative sentences

Person/pronoun Positive Short form Interrogative form Short form of question
I I was driving. Was I driving?
you (singular) You were driving. Were you driving?
he/she/it He was driving. Was he driving?
we/you/they We were driving. Were we driving?

Negative sentences

Person/pronoun Negative Short form Interrogative form Short form of question
I I was not driving. I wasn’t driving. Was I not driving? Wasn’t I driving?
you (singular) You were not driving. You weren’t driving. Were you not driving? Weren’t you driving?
he/she/it He was not driving. He wasn’t driving. Was he not driving? Wasn’t he driving?
we/you/they We were not driving. We weren’t driving. Were we not driving? Weren’t we driving?

Further explanations related to the ‘Formation of the past progressive’

The following explanations are related to the topic ‘Conjugation and verb forms of the past continuous (the past progressive tense in English)’ and could be interesting for you too: