We use the past continuous to describe something in progress at a particular time in the past.
In 2012, I was living in France.
At 11 o’clock, he was waiting by the river.
When they arrived, I was cooking lunch
We often use the past continuous to describe the situation at the beginning of a story.
In 2010, we were travelling across America.
John was driving too fast down the motorway.
Use the past continuous with the past simple:
• to describe long and short actions together:
I was reading my book when the plane took off.
• to describe a longer action that stopped suddenly because something else happened:
When I was driving to work, my car broke down.
We can use when to join the two parts of a sentence:
When my car broke down, I was driving to work.
My car broke down when I was driving to work.
|I / He / She / It||You / We / They|
|+||I was driving to work.||You were standing on the platform.|
|-||He wasn't listening.||We weren't watching.|
|Y/N?||Was she waiting for you?|
Yes, she was. / No, she wasn't.
|Were they travelling by train?|
Yes, they were. / No, they weren't.
Now practice on the Past Continuous with our interactive exercises: