What Is the Past Progressive Tense? (with Examples)
What Is the Past Progressive Tense? (with Examples)The past progressive tense is used to describe an on-going activity in the past. Often, it is used to set the scene for another action.
Examples of the Past Progressive TenseThe past progressive tense can be used to describe an activity in the past which was interrupted:
- He was painting the door when a bird struck the window.
- They were sleeping when the alarm went off.
- He wasn't painting the door when a bird struck the window.
- They weren't sleeping when the alarm went off.
- Was he painting the door when a bird struck the window?
- Were they sleeping when the alarm went off?
- While they were painting the door, I painted the windows.
- While they weren't painting the door, I painted the windows.
- Were they painting the door when I painted the windows?
- Weren't they painting the door when I painted the windows?
- While they were painting the door, I was painting the windows.
Forming the Past Progressive TenseHere is an infographic explaining the past progressive tense:
The Other Past TensesThe past progressive tense is one of four past tenses. They are:
|The 4 Past Tenses||Example|
|simple past tense||I went|
|past progressive tense||I was going|
|past perfect tense||I had gone|
|past perfect progressive tense||I had been going|
NoteThe past progressive tense is formed like this:
was + [verb] + ing
were + [verb] + ing
The [verb] + "ing" part is known as a present participle. It is formed like this:
Add "ing" to most verbs:
- play > playing
- shout > shouting
For verbs that end "e", remove the "e" and add "ing":
- prepare > preparing
- ride > riding
For verbs that end "ie", change the "ie" to "y" and add "ing":
- lie > lying
- untie > untying
For verbs whose last syllable is written [consonant-vowel-consonant] and is stressed, double the final consonant and add "ing":
- run > running
- forget > forgetting
See Also...Take a test on the present progressive tense Tenses Simple past tense Past progressive tense
Past perfect tense Past perfect progressive tense Simple present tense Present progressive tense Present perfect tense Present perfect progressive tense Simple future tense Future progressive tense Future perfect tense Future perfect progressive tense Glossary of grammatical terms