Past progressive

The past progressive is used to describe an action that began in the past, continued for a period of time, and then ended in the past. Before you continue, review these lessons: Verb BE | Present participle.

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The past progressive, sometimes called the past continuous, is formed with the verb BE conjugated in the simple past (was | were) followed by a present participle. This is the formula: subject + BE + (verb+ing).

subject BE present participle
I was dreaming.
The children were crying

The past progressive is often used to describe what was happening at the time something else was happening.

The sun was setting as we walked along the beach.
Susan and Tom were sleeping while I was working.

The past progressive can also describe what was happening at the time another event interrupted that action.

As I was reading my book, the power went out.
While I was crossing the street, my cell phone rang.

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