Using the Past Progressive Verb

Contributor: Linda Price. Lesson ID: 10117

Think about a time you were doing something fun and something else exciting happened. How would you describe it? You would use past progressive tense! Get ready to explore the past like never before!


Grammar, Writing

English / Language Arts
learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

Audio: Image - Button Play
Image - Lession Started Image - Button Start

Sometimes, when talking about past events, the events occur at the same time.

Yesterday, while I was studying, it was raining.

At other times, two events occur in the past, but one event begins before the other one.

I was studying when it began to rain.

Learn how to use the past progressive to express two events occurring in the past!

Begin by looking at the progressive tenses.

There are three progressive tenses: the present, the past, and the future progressive. These tenses indicate a continuing action. All three are formed using the verb be + -ing.

Some people refer to the progressive tenses as the continuous tenses; they are the same thing.

In this lesson, you will concentrate on the past progressive, which conveys an action that was in progress at a particular time in the past.

Look at the following examples.

Tim was reading when I got home.

The cat was sleeping until the lightning began.

In each case, one action began before another one.

In the following examples, both actions occur simultaneously, so the past progressive can be used in both parts of the sentence.

The phone was ringing while I was working on my assignment.

While I was making the brownies, my mother was cooking dinner.

Explore the resources below for more examples.

  Image - Video

When ready, continue to the Got It? section for some practice!

Image - Button Next