How does past continuous differ from past participle?

And what is the meaning of correct form of the verb?

The past continuous tense (also called the past progressive tense) is commonly used in English for actions which were going on (had not finished) at a particular time in the past. This tense was formed using two components: the verb BE (in the past tense), and the -ING form of a verb.
The following instances would make it clear:
1. It was raining when they left;
2. I was cooking when the phone rang;
3. They were practicing when it started to rain, etc.

Past participles are used for all perfect tense forms of a verb and in the passive voice in English. It shows something that started in the past, but continues until now. For regular verbs, we normally add ED to form past participles. However there are many verb forms which change in a different way. It is just a matter of a lot of practice and hardwork in order to come to terms with these exceptional verb forms.

sing, sang, sung
drink, drank,
do, did,
go, went,
make, made,
find, found,

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The irregular verb be is an important auxiliary verb (also known as a helping verb), both in thepresent tense and in the pastBe has three forms in the present:

    You (We, They) are.
    He (She, It) is.

Be has two forms in the past:

    I (He, She, It) was.
    You (We, They) were.

Note that be is the only verb whose past tensechanges its form to agree with the subject.


Using Am, Are, and Is with a Present Participle

A form of be may serve as an auxiliary verb with the present participle of any other verb. A present participle is made by adding -ing to the present form of a verb. A present form of be (am, are, or is) plus the present participle describes an action that is still in progress:

    am speaking with Miss Sunshine.
    The Hoovers are driving to California.
    Dwayne is staying with his grandfather.

Each of these sentences shows ongoing action in the present.

Using Was and Were with a Present Participle

To show continuous action in the past, we use a past form of be (was or were) with the present participle of another verb:

    was speaking with Miss Sunshine.
    The Hoovers were driving to California.
    Dwayne was staying with his grandfather.

Remember to use was after singular subjects (singular nouns and the pronouns I, he, she, it, this, and that). Use were after plural subjects (plural nouns and the pronouns you, we, they, these, and those).


Using a Form of Be with a Past Participle

To express an idea in the passive voice, we use a present or past form of be with the past participle of another verb. In the passive voice, the subject receives the action of the verb:

    The Pirates are rated number one in the region.
    The Bulldogs were beaten by the Pirates.

As a general rule, we use the passive voice when the performer of the action is unknown or is far less important than the receiver of the action. Otherwise, we should keep to the active voice, in which the subject performs the action of the verb:

    Sports reporters rate the Pirates number one in the region.
    The Pirates beat the Bulldogs.

Be careful not to overwork the passive voice. The active voice is usually more concise and forceful.


Practice in Using the Correct Form of Be

Write the correct form of the verb be in the tense indicated in parentheses. Compare your responses with the answers that follow the exercise.

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