Past Progressive

Was / Were + -ing Verb 

(-ing Verb = Present Participle)

Interrupted Action

An action that was happening when another action began either interrupting or overlapping the first action. 


  • I was driving when the car broke down.
  • The boy was running when he tripped.
  • The family was eating when the neighbor knocked on their door. 


Emphasize Duration of the Action

To emphasize the length of an event or action in the past.


  • I was working all morning.
  • It was raining for hours.  
  • He was dancing all night.


Background Information in a Story

When telling a story with past actions, we use Present Progressive to give background information. 


  • The wind was blowing and the rain was hitting the window. The girl sat inside and wished she could play outside.


Past Simple and Past Progressive Used Together