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Glossary :: Grammar


Past Progressive Tense


Past Progressive Tense is written by adding the words was/were to the present participle (word + ing).




You were playing when he called

Were you playing when he called?

You were not playing when he called.


Past progressive tense is used to show that an action was obstructed in its course. The obstruction is often for a small duration in the past simple tense. This obstruction may be a serious one or just for the time being.




I was writing when he called

While we were playing, it started to rain

I was sleeping, so I did not see the thief


The obstruction caused to an event in the past is a short one. Hence the duration of such an obstruction can be described in words.


At midnight, we were still cruising through the lake.

Last night at 8 p.m., I was exercising.


Past progressive tense is used to indicate the time when an action was started or ended. This tense denotes the specific time when there was an obstruction to the action.


For example;


Last night at 9.00 p.m, I was cooking food.


Past progressive tense is also used to describe two actions that took place simultaneously.


For example:


I was playing while she was cooking dinner

I was not listening while he was explaining


Past Progressive Tense is used to describe a series of actions that takes place simultaneously in a particular setting at a certain point of time.


Example: While I was going to the office, some people were walking on the platform while some of them were walking on the road, when the policemen summoned those walking on the road to take the platform. Those walking on the road were causing a blockade to the vehicles on the road.


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