English Grammar Past And Past Continuous
Learn English Past And Past Continuous Grammar

Grammar Level 3- Lesson Nine

In this grammar lesson, you learn about Past And Past Continuous in English and how to use it in your English conversation and writing. Just follow examples and write them down a few times to learn them very well. After finishing this lesson, you should work on its quiz.

Grammar Recap

In our previous lesson, we covered the Past Continuous If you just landed on this page, we suggest that you complete our previous lesson including its quizzes before continuing on this lesson.

Requirement Lessons

There is no required lessons for working and learning this lesson.


Past Tense vs. Past Continuous Tense


Past tense: I went to work yesterday. (main verb: go)

Past tense negative: I didn’t go to work on Sunday. (main verb: go)

Past continuous tense: I was eating my breakfast when the phone rang. (main verb: eat)

Past continuous tense negative: I wasn’t eating anything when the phone rang. (main verb: eat)

The past continuous tense is often used when talking about one or more past actions that happen at the same time. Here are some examples:

While I was sleeping, someone broke into my car and stole it.
Katy’s phone rang just as she was walking into the classroom.
Tom was sitting at his desk when he suddenly noticed there was a dead mouse on the floor.


What was the boy doing at the park?

He was making sand castles.

The boy was making sand castles while playing in the sand.

This boy made sand castles while he was playing in the sand.


As you can see below, the past tense is an alternative to the past continuous tense:

I was drinking coffee while I was working on my computer.

sounds better than…

I drank my coffee when I worked on my computer

….because there’s some activity.


You were taking English classes when you visited the United States.


You took English classes when you visited the United States.

(Both verb tenses are okay)

He was talking on his cell phone while he was walking to work.


While he was walking to work, he was talking on his cell phone.

(Many sentences that use “while” are continuous)


Past tense:

He talked on the phone an hour ago.

She was talking on the phone while she was drinking coffee.


She was talking on the phone while drinking coffee.

(Notice “she” is missing from the second sentence. That’s okay.)

It was snowing when this man went out to shovel his driveway.

(“It” refers to the weather.)

We were standing in my classroom when this picture was taken.

(“was taken” is passive voice–not continuous. Notice the difference?)

You were riding on the bus.

They were riding their bikes through downtown Minneapolis.


Quiz for Past & Past Continuous

Now that you learned your new lesson, it is time to go to the Past & Past Continuous page and finish your quiz. While working on your quiz, you can always go back to its lesson to refresh your memory.

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Next Grammar Lesson

In our next lesson, we will cover the Modal Verbs Before moving to the next lesson, we suggest that you complete this lesson including its quizzes.

Related Grammar Lessons


Grammar Level 3 Outline

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