Past Progressive / Continuous

When to Use It

Past progressive tense is used to indicate that an action was in progress when another action occur in the past.
Past progressive (was/were + Ving) refers to the action in progress, and simple past tense refers to the "interrupting" action.

While I was eating dinner, the telephone rang.
The telephone rang while I was eating dinner.
When the telephone rang, I was eating dinner.
was eating dinner when the telephone rang.

Past progressive can also be used to indicate only one action which occur in the past:

What was John doing yesterday?
He was working at the factory.

What were they doing yesterday afternoon?
They were playing
 soccer.

What were you doing last night?
was studying English.

How to Make It

To make the past progressive, use the past form of "be," followed by the main verb in its -ing form.
The form of "be" (was or were) depends on the subject of the sentence or clause.

Subject
I
She /Jack / The cat
They /The boys
We / You
Past
was
was
were
were
Progressive
sleeping.
sleeping.
sleeping.
sleeping.
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