Learn Past Continuous Tense: I was Knitting as an example

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Verb tenses tell us when something happened. While communicating, it’s essential to express when an event occurred. For example, if someone says “There is a fire,” the listener knows that there’s an immediate danger. But, by saying “There was a fire” the listener understands that they are no longer in danger. 

As a tense, Past Continuous states that an action began and ended in the past. For example, you may hear someone say “I was eating,” this tells the listener that the speaker had finished, or was interrupted while eating food. 

Most often, Past Continuous Tense is used to describe an action that was interrupted by another event. However, it can be used to speak of two actions that happened at the exact same time or an action that occurred at a specific time. 

In general, we don’t usually use Stative Verbs while speaking in the Past Continuous Tense. Verbs like want or believe express a current condition and wouldn’t make sense in this context. 

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A Bit of Grammar 

To form a declarative in Past Continuous Tense, the following formula is used: 


Sentences like “I was knitting” can easily be made in this way, just replace the Verb “knitting” with any Verb of your liking. Moreover, adding a second person to the Subject isn’t hard, it follows the pattern Pronoun and Pronoun were. For example, “Sid and Nancy were knitting.” 

To create a negative, use the pattern


Putting it into action, you may want to say “Sid and Nancy were not knitting.” 

Examples of Past Continuous Tense

  • She was listening to music while Isabella was watching a series. 
  • They were having dinner when Samantha called. 
  • When you sent a message, I was not sleeping yet. 

Let’s practice 

Q1: Try making your own sentence. 

Q2: Share something about one of your past travels. 

Q3: What were you doing before the class? 

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