Past Continuous Tense Exercises (With Printable PDF)

I divided this exercise into three parts. The first one assesses your knowledge of past continuous tense functions, while the second focuses on using the correct verb form. The last part of the exercise will require you to write sentences using the past continuous tense.

What Is the Past Continuous Tense?

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The past continuous tense or past progressive tense shows a continuing action in the past. We form the past continuous verb form using an auxiliary verb was or were, with the present participle or -ing form of a verb. For example:

  • I was knocking on your door while you were asleep.

In this sentence, the past continuous verb is was knocking. We use this verb tense to describe conditions that occurred continuously in the past and another action that interrupted it. For example:

  • I was looking for my bag when James entered the room.

You can also use the past continuous tense to emphasize what exactly was happening during a main event in the past. For example:

  • I was eating dinner during the announcement on television.

Another use of this verb tense is when referring to a past habitual action. For example:

  • She was always talking during class.
Past Continuous Tense Exercise #1

Past Continuous Tense Exercise #1

Choose the letter of the correct answer.

Which is not a function of the past continuous tense?
The past continuous tense is also known as _____.
Sunken is the present participle form of sink.
We form the past continuous tense using which auxiliary verb?
The past continuous form of the verb joke is ____.
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Past Continuous Tense Exercise #2

Past Continuous Tense Exercise #2

Complete each sentence with the past continuous form of the verb.
Ex. I _______ (study) late last night for my midterm exam. Answer: was studying

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Past Continuous Tense Exercise #3

Past Continuous Tense Exercise #3

Form a sentence in the past continuous tense using the given subject and predicate.
For example:
(he / not cry.) → He was not crying.
(she / laugh?) → Was she laughing?

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