Past Continuous

Questions about actions in progress at a time in the past.

See more grammar discussion topics

  1. What were you doing the last time you got a phone call?
  2. What were you thinking about on the way to this lesson?
  3. Where were your parents living when you were born?
  4. Where were your parents working when you started school?
  5. What were you doing at 7 o'clock yesterday evening?
  6. What were you doing at midnight yesterday?
  7. What were you doing when you heard about the 9/11 attacks in New York?
  8. What was Neil Armstrong doing when he said, "That's one small step for man..."?
  9. What were you doing with your life when the COVID 19 epidemic started?
  10. What were your grandparents or great-grandparents doing when World War II began?
  11. What were you doing 5 minutes before this lesson started?
  12. What were you doing during the last football world cup final?
PDF (Individual)
PDF (Pairs)
PDF (Threes)
PDF (Cards)
How to use the past continuous ESL discussion questions

It is recommended that you download the past continuous ESL discussion questions in PDF format using one of the links above. The best way to encourage classroom interaction is to download and print the past continuous discussion questions in the 'pairs' or 'threes' PDF format and then divide the questions by cutting along the dotted lines. This allows students to take turns asking and answering the past continuous discussion questions in groups of two or three. Alternatively, you could use the 'cards' format to distribute the questions to any number of students to ask and share.

It is advisable to prepare students for using these discussion questions by first introducing them to the topic of past continuous in an interesting and engaging way. An anecdote, quiz question or a related image or video could all be used to achieve this. Depending on the level, it may also be necessary to pre-teach any challenging vocabulary related to past continuous contained in the discussion questions.

For more ESL discussion questions, see this site's main page. There are discussion questions on a range of topics including general, grammar and business English topics.

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