Past Continuous Tense / Past Perfect Continuous
We use the past continuous when we are talking about—
¨ something which happened before and after (around) a given time in the past
It was just after ten. I was watching the news on TV.
We were playing in the afternoon.
¨ something happening before and after another action in the past:
He broke his leg when he was playing football.
She saw plane as it was landing.
Functions of the Past continuous
The past continuous describes actions or events in a time before now, which began in the past and is still going on at the time of speaking. In other words, it expresses an unfinished or incomplete action in the past.
It is used:
- Often, to describe the background in a story written in the past tense, e.g. "The sun was shining and the birds were singing as the elephant came out of the jungle. The other animals were relaxing in the shade of the trees, but the elephant moved very quickly. She was looking for her baby, and she didn't notice the hunter who was watching her through his binoculars. When the shot rang out, she was running towards the river..."
- to describe an unfinished action that was interrupted by another event or action, e.g. "I was having a beautiful dream when the alarm clock rang."
- to express a change of mind: e.g. "I was going to spend the day at the beach but I've decided to get my homework done instead."
- with 'wonder', to make a very polite request: e.g. "I was wondering if you could baby-sit for me tonight."
They were waiting for the bus when the accident happened.
Caroline was skiing when she broke her leg.
When we arrived, he was having a bath.
When the fire started, I was watching television.
Note: with verbs not normally used in the continuous form, the simple past is used.
Forming the Past continuous
The past continuous of any verb is composed of two parts : the past tense of the verb "to be" (was/were), and the base of the main verb +ing.
base + ing
'TO PLAY' IN PAST CONTINUOUS
I was playing
I was not playing
Was I playing?
You were playing
You were not playing
Were you playing?
He was playing
He wasn't playing
Was he playing?
We were playing
We weren't playing
Were we playing?
They were playing
They weren't playing
Were they playing?
Put the verbs into the correct form (past progressive/continuous).
- We _________________ (take) breakfast at that time.
- The sun _____________ ( shine) brightly at noon
- When I phoned my friends, they (play)___________________monopoly.
- She ________________ (cross) the road when a scooter hit her.
- Yesterday at six I (prepare) ____________________________ dinner.
- The kids (play)_______________in the garden when it suddenly began to rain.
- I (practise)____________________the guitar when he came home.
- We (not / cycle)________________________all day.
- While Alan (work)______________________in his room, his friends (swim)______________in the pool.
- I tried to tell them the truth but they (not / listen)_______________________.
- What (you / do)_______________________yesterday?
- Most of the time we (sit)__________________________in the park.
- I (listen)_______________________________to the radio while my sister (watch) ____________________TV.
- When I visited Satish , he ______________ ( have) tea.
- He broke his leg as he ______________ (alight) the bus
Change the verb to the Past Continuous Tense form: