Past Continuous Tense English Grade 3 | Orchids International School
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Past Continuous Tense for Class 3 English

Students will be introduced to past continuous tense definitions, examples and types. Besides, they will common mistakes that could occur while using them have also been stated.

In this learning concept, the students will learn

  • Uses of past continuous tense in sentences with clear examples
  • Format of sentences in the past continuous sentences.

All the English Grammar concepts are covered and explained using illustrations, tables and examples. Students can check their understanding of relevant topics by solving the past continuous tense worksheet for class 3. Download the worksheets and check the solutions provided in PDF format.


The past continuous tense shows a continuing action or state that was happening at some point in the past. It is formed with a combination of the ‘to be’ verb (i.e., was/were) in the past tense with the main verb’s present participle ‘-ing’ word.


  1. I was preparing dinner when he arrived.
  2. Example of Past Continuous Tense
  3. We were joking with our friends.
  4. Example of Past Continuous Tense

Uses of the Past Continuous Tense

  1. To show a continuous action in the past that was interrupted or stopped.


    1. I was watching TV when my mother called.
    2. While we were enjoying the picnic, it started to rain.
  2. To show a continuous action in the past at a specific time.
  3. Examples:

    1. Last night at 10 pm, I was eating dinner.
    2. At midnight, we were still driving to reach home.
  4. To express the idea of parallel actions.
  5. Examples:

    1. I was cleaning utensils while he was washing clothes.
    2. They were having dinner and discussing their holiday trip.

    How to Form a Past Continuous Tense?

    To form the past continuous tense, follow the order:

    Format of Past Continuous Tense sentence

    Example :

    We were painting the wall.

    Now let us look at how a past continuous tense is formed in negative, affirmative and interrogative sentences.

    A. Affirmative Sentence
    He was sleeping.
    B. Negative Sentence
    He wasn't sleeping.
    C. Interrogative Sentence
    Was he sleeping?
    D. Interrogative Negative Sentence
    Wasn't he sleeping?

Common Mistakes

  1. Confusion on the usage of ‘while’ and ‘when’ in referring to the past.
  2. Examples :

    tickI was studying when my brother called.

    crossI was studying while my brother called.

    tickWhile I was playing, he called.

    crossWhen I was playing, he called.

  3. Using non-continuous verbs like ‘be’ in the –ing form to frame a past continuous tense. Instead, use the verb that describes the action to make a past continuous sentence.
  4. Examples :

    tickShe was staying at my house when he arrived.

    crossShe was being at my house when he arrived.

    Instead of using past continuous, use simple past tense.


  1. When adding –ing suffix, the final consonant ‘l’ of the root word is always doubled.
  2. Example :

    travel – travelling

  3. If the verb ends with the letter ‘e’, it is omitted before adding -ing.
  4. Example :

    come – coming but not applicable for see – seeing

  5. If the verb ends with the vowels ‘ie’, it changes to ‘y’ prior to adding the –ing suffix.
  6. Example :

    die – dying

Mindmap for Past Continuous Tense
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