Past Progressive Tense Exercises

Past Progressive Tense Exercises with Answers

You might be familiar with the past progressive tense if you’re an ESL learner. This tense describes an action that was in progress at a specific time in the past. For example, “I was studying for my exam last night.” In this sentence, “was studying” is the past progressive tense.

Using the past progressive tense can be confusing at first, but with practice, it becomes easier. Here are some exercises to help you master the past progressive tense:

Exercise 1: Complete the sentences with the correct form of the past progressive tense.

1. Yesterday at 6 PM, I _________ (watch) a movie.

2. While I _________ (cook) dinner, my roommate came home.

3. They _________ (play) basketball when it started to rain.

4. I _________ (study) for my exam when my phone rang.

5. She _________ (read) a book while she waited for the train.


1. I was watching

2. was cooking

3. were playing

4. I was studying

5. I was reading

Exercise 2: Rewrite the sentences in the past progressive tense.

1. I wrote an email to my teacher. (while)

2. They ate pizza for dinner. (when)

3. She listened to music. (while)

4. He watched TV. (when)

5. We studied for the exam. (while)


1. While I was writing an email to my teacher, the phone rang.

2. They were eating pizza for dinner when the doorbell rang.

3. While she was listening to music, her brother entered the room.

4. He was watching TV when his friend called.

5. While we were studying for the exam, our classmates were playing outside.

Exercise 3: Choose the correct answer.

1. What _________ (you do) yesterday at 3 PM?

a) Were you doing

b) Did you do

c) Do you do

2. They _________ (watch) a movie when I arrived.

a) Was watching

b) Were watching

c) Watched

3. She _________ (not listen) to music when I saw her.

a) Not listened

b) Was not listening

c) Did not listen

4. Yesterday, I _________ (walk) to the park.

a) Was walking

b) Walked

c) Walk

5. While I _________ (study), my roommate was playing video games.

a) Studied

b) Was studying

c) Study


1. Were you doing

2. Were watching

3. Was not listening

4. Walked

5. Was studying

These exercises should help you become more comfortable with the past progressive tense. Remember to keep practicing, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. With time and effort, you’ll be able to use this tense confidently and accurately. 

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