CONTINUOUS TENSES of ENGLISH VERBS


Past Continuous

Forming the Past Continuous/Past Progressive

The Past Continuous is formed by combining the past tense of the helping verb "to be" (was or were) with the "-ing" (or the Present Participle) form of the main verb.

Construction looks like this:

subject + was/were + -ing

For example:

"She was eating breakfast" ("eat" is the main verb and "was" is the helping verb).

The Present Participle of the main verb will always be the same, no matter who or what the subject is. It's the helping verb in Past Continuous conjugation that will change according to the subject. The helping verb will be either "was" or "were" depending on the subject.

 



Base Form

Past Continuous

Translation

 

With both regular and irregular verbs, the rule is simple...

Regular verbs

The past continuous requires the addition of

the past tense of “to be” (was/were) + “ing




To finish




Was/were finishing




Acabar, terminar

To stop

Was/were stopping

Parar

To work

Was/were working

Trabalhar

Irregular verbs



Again add the past tense of “to be” (was/were) + “ing

To sing

Was/were singing

Cantar

To buy

Was/were buying

Comprar

To cut

Was/were cutting

Cortar

 

Use "TO BE" (SIMPLE PAST TENSE) as the “helping” or “auxiliary” verb. ONLY THIS VERB IS CONJUGATED:-


 

I WAS. YOU WERE. HE/SHE/IT WAS. WE WERE. YOU (ALL) WERE or YOU WERE (ALL). THEY WERE.

The MAIN VERB always remains unchanged.


(REMEMBER Before adding “-ING”, to DOUBLE the final consonants “B”, “D”, “G”, “M”, “N”, “P”, “R” or “T” after a “SHORT” vowel sound in the main verb, as with “stopping” and “cutting” in the examples above). If the base verb ends with an “E”, REMOVE it before ADDING “-ING” (to exercise becomes exercising).

 

REGULAR ENGLISH VERBS

 

TO APPLAUD

I WAS APPLAUDING. YOU WERE APPLAUDING. HE/SHE/IT WAS APPLAUDING. WE WERE APPLAUDING. YOU (ALL) WERE/WERE (ALL) APPLAUDING. THEY WERE APPLAUDING.


At the end of the concert, the audience WERE APPLAUDING for 10 minutes.


TO DANCE

I WAS DANCING. YOU WERE DANCING. HE/SHE/IT WAS DANCING. WE WERE DANCING. YOU (ALL) WERE/YOU WERE (ALL) DANCING. THEY WERE DANCING.

That evening we WERE DANCING a passo doblé.


TO EXERCISE

 

I WAS EXERCISING. YOU WERE EXERCISING. HE/SHE/IT WAS EXERCISING. WE WERE EXERCISING. YOU (ALL) WERE/YOU WERE (ALL) EXERCISING. THEY WERE EXERCISING.

As the children WERE EXERCISING, the dog WAS EXERCISING as well.


TO JUGGLE

I WAS JUGGLING. YOU WERE JUGGLING. HE/SHE/IT WAS JUGGLING. WE WERE JUGGLING. YOU (ALL) WERE/YOU WERE (ALL) JUGGLING. THEY WERE JUGGLING.

The man WAS JUGGLING with red clubs.


TO LAUGH

I WAS LAUGHING. YOU WERE LAUGHING. HE/SHE/IT WAS LAUGHING. WE WERE LAUGHING. YOU (ALL) WERE/YOU WERE (ALL) LAUGHING. THEY WERE LAUGHING.

 

Paul and Linda WERE LAUGHING at a joke he’d told her.


TO MEASURE

I WAS MEASURING. YOU WERE MEASURING. HE/SHE/IT WAS MEASURING. WE WERE MEASURING. YOU (ALL) WERE/YOU WERE (ALL) MEASURING. THEY WERE MEASURING.

Burton’s tailor WAS MEASURING him for yet another suit.


TO PAINT

I WAS PAINTING. YOU WERE PAINTING. HE/SHE/IT WAS PAINTING. WE WERE PAINTING. YOU (ALL) WERE/YOU WERE (ALL) PAINTING. THEY WERE PAINTING.

You WERE PAINTING that part of the picture yesterday.


TO WHISPER

I WAS WHISPERING. YOU WERE WHISPERING. HE/SHE/IT WAS WHISPERING. WE WERE WHISPERING. YOU (ALL) WERE/YOU WERE (ALL) WHISPERING. THEY WERE WHISPERING.

Christine WAS WHISPERING a secret to Debbie.


IRREGULAR ENGLISH VERBS

TO BLOW

I WAS BLOWING. YOU WERE BLOWING. HE/SHE/IT WAS BLOWING. WE WERE BLOWING. YOU (ALL) WERE/YOU WERE (ALL) BLOWING. THEY WERE BLOWING.

The last time I showed you this picture, Rafaela WAS also BLOWING bubbles.


TO DRIVE

I WAS DRIVING. YOU WERE DRIVING. HE/SHE/IT WAS DRIVING. WE WERE DRIVING. YOU (ALL) WERE/YOU WERE (ALL) DRIVING. THEY WERE DRIVING.


William WAS DRIVING while his girlfriend WAS NAVIGATING.


TO EAT

I WAS EATING. YOU WERE EATING. HE/SHE/IT WAS EATING. WE WERE EATING. YOU (ALL) WERE/YOU WERE (ALL) EATING. THEY WERE EATING.

You WERE all EATING slices of a New York pizza.


TO FIND

I WAS FINDING. YOU WERE FINDING. HE/SHE/IT WAS FINDING. WE WERE FINDING. YOU (ALL) WERE/YOU WERE (ALL) FINDING. THEY WERE FINDING.

Until last week I WAS FINDING nothing but rocks, but then today – GOLD!!!


TO KNEEL

I WAS KNEELING. YOU WERE KNEELING. HE/SHE/IT WAS KNEELING. WE WERE KNEELING. YOU (ALL) WERE/YOU WERE (ALL) KNEELING. THEY WERE KNEELING.

Rebecca WAS KNEELING in prayer.


TO RIDE