This is used in a very similar way to the *simple past. But it’s used to show something that continuously happened.
How do we use it?
I/She/He/It + was + verb + ing
They/We/You + were + verb + ing
In addition, it’s used in almost the same way as the past tense, but shows duration of the action/event. The use of be is in present again, but this time they are in the past tense, am-was, are-were, is-was.
When do we use it?
- For a past actions that was happening or going on before another started or interrupted.
I was sleeping when he called me.
- We also use it to talk about two past actions that were happening concurrently/simultaneously (at the same time)
- I was reading while they were sleeping.
- They were watching TV while she was preparing dinner.
- We also use the past continuous for past actions that were in progress then.
James was doing his homework last evening when I called him.