Rules of Using Past Continuous Tense

Past Tense is used to determine the action of a verb that began in the past. Based on the formation of the sentence, It can also be used to describe the moment that took place near the present time.


Past Continuous Tense takes the structure:

a. Ram + was + going + to the market.
b. They + were + sleeping + early at night.
c. I + was + eating + the cake.

Here, (v+ ing) represents the Continuous form of the verb. Read Now:

Moving on, We will be discussing certain rules, and the uses of Past Continuous Tense with Examples. Let’s Begin.

Rule 1 – Action going on, at sometime in the past

  1. She was writing her name on the black-board.
  2. My teacher was teaching chapter 5.
  3. The dogs were fighting over a piece of bread.

Rule 2 – Direct Speech to Indirect Speech

The Present Continuous Tense of the Reported Speech is changed to Past Continuous Tense in the Indirect Speech.


For Example:

  1. He said, “He is reading a novel”. (Direct)
    He said that He was reading a novel. (Indirect)
  2. Ram wrote, “He is managing the firm alone”. (Direct)
    Ram wrote that He was managing the firm alone. (Indirect)

Rule 3 – Two Actions taking place Together

When two actions are taking place at the same time in the past, Past Continuous Tense is used for both actions.


For Example:

  1. While my mother was cooking food, I was sleeping.
  2. She was singing the song and I was playing the Guitar.

Rule 4 – To Describe a continuous Increase or Decrease

When the verbs – ‘get‘, ‘become‘, and ‘grow‘ are used to denote a gradual increase or decrease, Past Continuous Tense is used.


For Example:

  1. His health was getting improved.
  2. The number of audience was becoming lower and lower.
  3. The plants were growing at a phenomenal rate.
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