How to use the Past Continuous
The Past Continuous is used to talk about:
– an action at one moment in the past
– or the general situation at a moment in the past.
- When I woke up yesterday I looked out of the window and I saw that the sun was shining, two people were sitting on a bench, they were eating a sandwich, and some dogs were playing.
We don’t know when the sun started shining, or when the people went to sit on the bench, or when the dogs started playing.
But we do know that, at the moment I looked out of my window, that was the situation.
- – What were you doing yesterday at 8.05pm?
- – I was walking home from work.
Interrupted Past Continuous
Sometimes the Past continuous is used to set the scene for when another action (in the past simple) happens.
- John was walking down the street when he saw an accident with a motorbike
- They were having lunch when the postman knocked at the door
Was/were going to, for incompleted intentions:
- John was going to come for supper at 9.00 pm but he had to stay at work until 11.00pm to prepare a meeting for today
In this case John’s intention was to arrive home before 9.00pm, finally he arrived after 11.00pm