IndiaIndia UKUKUSUS
Enjoyable and Effective Quizzes for Learning and Quick Revision
IndiaIndia UKUKUSUS
Grammar 17 - The Past Continuous Tense
"The cars were running at full speed." - This sentence is in the past continuous tense.

Grammar 17 - The Past Continuous Tense

In the previous quiz we learnt about the present continuous tense and how the verbs change depending on a variety of situations. In this quiz we will look at the past continuous tense.

The rules regarding the use of verbs to express the past continuous tense are not too different from those that govern their use in the present continuous tense. As the name suggests, the past continuous tense is used to express an action relating to the past. Since we are looking at continuous tense it has to relate to what was happening in the past at the time of expression. Something that was happening, or going on, at some point in the past.

The past continuous tense is formed by adding the helping verb ‘to be’ (in the past tense – WAS or WERE) to the PRESENT PARTICPLE of the main verb.

For I, HE, SHE, IT or singular nouns, WAS is used:

  • 'I WAS RUNNING to catch the bus.'
  • 'She WAS RUNNING a bath.'
  • ‘The car WAS RUNNING at full speed.’ - In these examples WAS is added to the past participle of the main verb RUN, which is RUNNING.

For YOU, WE, THEY or plural nouns, WERE is used:

  • 'We WERE RUNNING to catch the bus.'
  • 'You WERE RUNNING a business.'
  • 'They WERE RUNNING around.'
  • ‘The cars WERE RUNNING at full speed.’ - In these examples WERE is added to the past participle of the main verb RUN, which is RUNNING.

The past continuous tense can also be used to express the negative and interrogative forms:

To express the negative form, the word ‘NOT’ is placed between the helping verb and the main verb (present participle):

‘The Prime Minister WAS NOT COMING’.

To express the interrogative form the helping verb is placed before the subject:

‘WAS the Prime Minister COMING?'

The quiz that follows will test your understanding of the past continuous tense.

1.
Choose the sentence with past continuous tense.
Why is Joseph placating his wife?
Why were Joseph placating his wife?
Why was Joseph placating his wife?
Why was Joseph placated his wife?
In interrogative forms, the helping verb is placed before the subject and 'was' is used in the case of singular nouns like 'Joseph'. The present participle of 'placate' is 'placating'. Answer 1 is in the present continuous tense. Answer 2 has used the wrong helping verb and Answer 4 has not used the present participle of 'placate'
2.
Choose the sentence with past continuous tense.
Why was Mustaq frightening his child?
Why is Mustaq frightening his child?
Why were Mustaq frightening his child?
Why was Mustaq frighten his child?
In interrogative forms, the helping verb is placed before the subject. 'Was' is used in the case of singular (Mustaq) and the present participle of 'frighten' is 'frightening'. Answer 2 is in the present continuous tense, Answer 3 has used the wrong helping verb and Answer 4 has not used the present participle of 'frighten'
3.
Choose the sentence with past continuous tense.
The managing director is not terminating the employee.
The managing director was not terminate the employee.
The managing director were not terminating the employee.
The managing director was not terminating the employee.
In negative forms, 'not' is placed between the helping verb and the main verb (present participle). 'Was' is used for singular nouns (like 'managing director') and the present participle of 'terminate' is 'terminating'. Answer 1 is in the present continuous tense, Answer 2 has not used the present participle of 'terminate' and Answer 3 has used the wrong helping verb
4.
Choose the sentence with past continuous tense.
The school principals are complaining about the unruly behaviour of the pupils.
The school principals were complaining about the unruly behaviour of the pupils.
The school principals complain about the unruly behaviour of the pupils.
The school principals complained about the unruly behaviour of the pupils.
Note that 'were' is used for plural and the present participle of 'complain' is 'complaining'. Answer 1 is in the present continuous tense, Answer 3 is in the present tense and Answer 4 is in the past tense
5.
Choose the sentence with past continuous tense.
The batsman gesticulated vehemently on being declared out.
The batsman is gesticulating vehemently on being declared out.
The batsman was gesticulating vehemently on being declared out.
The batsman gesticulates vehemently on being declared out.
Note that 'was' is used for singular and the present participle of 'gesticulate' is 'gesticulating'. Answer 1 is in the past tense, Answer 2 is in the present continuous tense and Answer 4 is in the present tense
6.
Choose the sentence with past continuous tense.
Why were you staring at her?
Why was you staring at her?
Why are you staring at her?
Why did you stare at her?
In interrogative forms, the helping verb is placed before the subject and 'were' is used in the case of 'you' and 'they'. Answer 2 has the wrong usage of the helping verb. Answer 3 is in the present continuous tense and Answer 4 is in the past tense
7.
Choose the sentence with past continuous tense.
The baby was sleeping in the cot.
The baby is sleeping in the cot.
The baby slept in the cot.
The baby sleeps in the cot.
Note that 'was' is used for singular and the present participle of 'sleep' is 'sleeping'. Answer 2 is in the present continuous tense, Answer 3 is in the past tense and Answer 4 is in the present tense
8.
Choose the sentence with past continuous tense.
The unruly students was not attending college.
The unruly students are not attending college.
The unruly students were not attending college.
The unruly students were not attend college.
In negative forms, 'not' is placed between the helping verb and the main verb (present participle). 'Were' is used for plurals and the present participle of 'attend' is 'attending'. Answer 1 has the wrong usage of the helping verb. Answer 2 is in the present continuous tense and Answer 4 has not used the present participle of 'attend'
9.
Choose the sentence with past continuous tense.
Cooks was cutting vegetables.
Cooks cut vegetables.
Cooks are cutting vegetables.
Cooks were cutting vegetables.
Note that 'were' is used for plural and the present participle of 'cut' is 'cutting'. Answer 1 is wrong as 'was' is used for singular subject and 'cooks' is a plural noun. Answer 2 is in the present tense and Answer 3 is in the present continuous tense
10.
Choose the sentence with past continuous tense.
I shaved my beard.
I shave my beard.
I am shaving my beard.
I was shaving my beard.
Note that 'was' is used for singular and the present participle of 'shave' is 'shaving'. Answer 1 is in the past tense, Answer 2 is in the present tense and Answer 3 is in the present continuous tense
Author:  V T Narendra

© Copyright 2016-2019 - Education Quizzes
TJS - Web Design Lincolnshire
View Printout in HTML

Valid HTML5

We use cookies to make your experience of our website better.

To comply with the new e-Privacy directive, we need to ask for your consent - I agree - No thanks - Find out more