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Grammar detail: verb past progressive form

verb past progressive form - continuous past action
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verb て form
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いた
or the polite form
いました
expresses the idea of an activity in the past that was ongoing.
For example:
かのじょ
彼女
ひとりそこ
んでいた

She lived there by herself.
This form is also used when describing a state that once entered remains the case. For example:
その
いぬ
んでいた

The dog was dead.
It can also be used when describing an action that had completely finished by the time a linked action happened - the equivalent of 'had done ~' in English (known as the pluperfect or past perfect). For example:
かれ
えき
いた
とき
れっしゃ
列車
すでに
ていた

The train had already left when they got to the station.
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See also:
  • verb progressive form - in progress

Kanji used in this grammar

ヒ   かれ he   
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3
ジョ   ニョ   ニョウ   woman; female   おんな woman   め woman   
1
ジュウ   す to live, to dwell   すまう to live (concept)   
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2
ケン   いぬ dog   
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2
シ   death   し die   
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2
エキ    station   
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2
チャク   ジャク   つ to arrive   つける to attach   き to wear   きせる to make wear   
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2
レツ    row   
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3
シャ   くるま car   
1
シュツ   スイ   だ to take out, to put out   で to go out, to exit   
1
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