Past Continuous Tense: The past continuous tense which is also known as the past progressive tense, refers to a continuing action or state that was happening at some point in the past. The past continuous describes actions or events in a time before now, which began in the past and were still going on when another event occurred. Past continuous tense is formed by using helping verbs, that is was/were and the main verb in the Present Participle. 

Past Continuous Tense

The Past Continuous Tense (also called past progressive) is a verb tense that is used to show that an ongoing past action was happening at a specific moment of interruption, or that two ongoing actions were happening at the same time. When the verb defines/denotes an activity that is used depict an action or event that was continuing in the past, then the such verb is used as Past Continuous Tense.

Structure of Past Continuous Tense

Structure of Past Continuous Tense
TypeGeneral Formula & RuleExample
Past Continuous TenseSubject + Helping Verb(was/were) + Main verb + ing + the rest of the sentenceIt was snowing today.

Examples of Past Continuous Tense

Some examples of the Past Continuous Tense are-

  • It was snowing today. (आज बर्फबारी हो रही थी।)
  • They were eating at the Dhaba. (वे ढाबे पर खाना खा रहे थे।)
  • You were working tomorrow. (आप कल काम कर रहे थे।)
  • I was studying last night. (मैं कल रात पढ़ रहा था।)
  • I was waiting for the cab when I met Usha. (जब मैं उषा से मिला तो मैं कैब का इंतजार कर रहा था।)
  • The student was shouting when the teacher came in. (शिक्षक के अंदर आने पर छात्र चिल्ला रहा था।)
  • It was midnight when it was raining. (आधी रात का समय था जब बारिश हो रही थी। )
  • Everyone was clapping. (सब ताली बजा रहे थे।)

Structure of Sentences of Past Continuous Tense

Past Continuous Tense sentences can be in three forms, that is, Positive or Affirmative, Negative, and Interrogative sentences. Below is the structure of all three forms and examples to make you understand better.

Structure of Sentences of Past Continuous Tense
Positive/Affirmative Sentence
Subject + was/were + Verb(1st form) + -ing + rest of the sentence

Example of Positive/Affirmative Sentence

  • He was washing the dishes.(वह बर्तन धो रहा था।)
  • I was working yesterday. (मैं कल काम कर रहा था।)
  • We were playing football on Sunday. (हम रविवार को फुटबॉल खेल रहे थे।)
  • She was reading a novel when I called her. (जब मैंने उसे फोन किया तो वह एक उपन्यास पढ़ रही थी।)
Negative Sentence
Subject + was/were + not + Verb(1st form) + -ing + rest of the sentence

Example of a Negative Sentence:

  • It was not getting dark. (अंधेरा नहीं हो रहा था।)
  • We were not singing last night. (हम कल रात नहीं गा रहे थे।)
  • They were not working on their project last week. (वे पिछले हफ्ते अपने प्रोजेक्ट पर काम नहीं कर रहे थे।)
  • She was not always talking to her friend. (वह हमेशा अपने दोस्त से बात नहीं कर रही थी।)
Interrogative Sentence
was/were + Subject + Verb(1st form) + -ing + Object

Example of an Interrogative Sentence:

  • Was it getting dark? (अंधेरा हो रहा था?)
  • Were we singing last night? (क्या हम कल रात गा रहे थे?)
  • Were they working on their project last week? (क्या वे पिछले हफ्ते अपने प्रोजेक्ट पर काम कर रहे थे?)
  • Was she talking to her friend? (क्या वह अपने दोस्त से बात कर रही थी?)

Example of “To Play” in Past Continuous Tense

Positive/Affirmative SentenceNegative SentenceInterrogative Sentence
I was playing.I was not playing.Was I playing?
You were  playing.You were not playing.Were you playing?
He was playing.He wasn't playing.Was he playing?
We were playing.We weren't playing.Were we playing?
They were playing.They weren't playing.Were they playing?

Tense Chart of Past Continuous Tense in Hindi

 Past
Continuous

रहा था, रही थी, रहे थे

Subject + Was/Were + V4 + Object

Uses of Past Continuous Tense

Some of the uses of Past continuous tense are-

  1. The Past Continuous is used to denote an action going on at some time in the past the time of the action may or may not be indicated.
  2. This tense is also used with always, continually, etc. for persistent habits in the past.

Example of Uses of Past Continuous Tense 

Some examples of uses of  Past Continuous Tense are -

1. The Past Continuous is used to denote an action going on at some time in the past the time of the action may or may not be indicated.

For Example- 

  • We were listening to the radio all evening. (हम पूरी शाम रेडियो सुन रहे थे।)
  • It was getting darker. (अँधेरा बढ़ता जा रहा था।)
  • The sun was shinning everyday in that summer. (उस गर्मी में हर रोज सूरज चमक रहा था।)
  • When I saw him, he was playing chess. (मैंने उसे देखा तो वह शतरंज खेल रहा था।)

2. This tense is also used with always, continually, etc. for persistent habits in the past.

For Example-

  • He was always grumbling. (वह हमेशा बड़बड़ाता रहता था।)

Exercise1:  

Translate Past Continuous Tense sentences from English to Hindi-
Exercise:Answer:
I was watching the movie when she called.जब उसने फोन किया तो मैं फिल्म देख रहा था।
When the phone rang, she was writing notes.जब फोन आया तो वह नोट्स लिख रही थी।
While we were having the picnic in the park, it started to rain.जब हम पार्क में पिकनिक मना रहे थे, बारिश होने लगी।
What were you doing when the landslide started?जब भूस्खलन शुरू हुआ तो आप क्या कर रहे थे?
I was listening to my iPod, so I didn't hear the warning alarm.मैं अपना iPod सुन रहा था, इसलिए मैंने चेतावनी अलार्म नहीं सुना।
You were not listening to me when I told you to turn off the fan.जब मैंने आपको पंखा बंद करने के लिए कहा तो आप मेरी बात नहीं सुन रहे थे।
While Saurabh was sleeping last night, someone stole his car.बीती रात जब सौरभ सो रहे थे तभी किसी ने उनकी कार चोरी कर ली।
Sheetal was waiting for us when we got off the plane.जब हम प्लेन से उतरे तो शीतल हमारा इंतजार कर रही थी।
While I was writing the letter, the computer suddenly went off.जब मैं पत्र लिख रहा था, कंप्यूटर अचानक बंद हो गया।

Exercise2:  

Translate Past Continuous Tense sentences from  Hindi to English-
Exercise:Answer
मैं कल रात 11 बजे काम कर रहा था।I was working at 11 pm last night.
वे आज सुबह 8 बजे फुटबॉल नहीं खेल रहे थे।They were not playing football at 8 am this morning.
कल रात 9 बजे आप क्या कर रहे थे?What were you doing at  9 pm last night?
जब वह चला गया तो आप क्या कर रहे थे?What were you doing when he departed?
जब मैंने उसे बुलाया तो वह खाना बना रही थी।She was cooking when I called her.
हम दोपहर का भोजन कर रहे थे जब बारिश होने लगी।We were having lunch when it started to rain.
हिमपात होने के कारण शिव जल्दी घर चले गए।Shiva went home early because it was snowing.
सुषमा फास्ट फूड खा रही थी।Sushma was eating fast food.
भूकंप हम सभी को डरा रहा था।The earthquake was scaring all of us.
Related Links
Tense ChartPresent Tense
Simple Present TensePresent Perfect Tense
Present Continuous TensePresent Perfect Continuous Tense
Past TenseSimple Past Tense
Past Perfect tense
Past Continuous Tense- FAQs

Ans. The past continuous tense which is also known as the past progressive tense, refers to a continuing action or state that was happening at some point in the past.

Ans. Some of the example of the Past Continuous Tense are- It was snowing today, They were eating at the dhaba, You were working tomorrow.

Ans. The rule of Past Continuous Tense is- Subject + Helping Verb(was/were) + Main verb + ing + the rest of the sentence

Ans. Some of the uses of past continuous tense are- The Past Continuous is used to denote an action going on at some time in the past the time of the action may or may not be indicated and This tense is also used with always, continually, etc. for persistent habits in the past.

Ans. The point to remember is that the Past Continuous Tense starts with the subject followed by helping verbs or auxiliary verb (was/were) then it is followed by the main verbs(which consist of the present participle, i.e. -ing) and finally it ends with an object.

Important Links