Unit 6. Past Сontinuous (I was doing)
(прошедшее продолженное время)
Study this example situation:
||Yesterday Karen and Jim played tennis.
They began at 10 o'clock and finished at 11.30.
So, at 10.30 they were playing tennis.
They were playing = "they were in the middle of playing". They had not finished playing.
Was/ were -ing is the Past Continuous:
|I/ he/ she/ it
we/ you/ they
We use the Past Continuous to say that somebody was in the middle of doing something at a certain time. The action or situation had already started before this time but had not finished:
- This time last year I was living in Brazil.
- What were you doing at 10 o'clock last night?
- I waved to her but she wasn't looking.
Compare the Past Continuous (I was doing
) and Past Simple (I did
|Past Continuous (in the middle of an action)
- I was walking home when I met Dave.
(= in the middle of walking home).
- Ann was watching television when the phone rang.
|Past Simple (complete action)
- I walked home after the party last night.
(= all the way, completely).
- Ann watched television a lot when she was ill last year.
We often use the Past Simple and the Past Continuous together to say that something happened
in the middle of something else:
- Tom burnt his hand when he was cooking the dinner.
- I saw you in the park yesterday. You were sitting on the grass and reading a book.
- While I was working in the garden, I hurt my back.
But we use the Past Simple
to say that one thing happened after
- I was walking along the road when I saw Dave. So I stopped and we had a chat.
|When Karen arrived, we were having dinner.
(= We had already started dinner before karen arrived.)
|When Karen arrived, we had dinner.
(= First Karen arrived and then we had dinner.)
There are some verbs (for example, know/ want/ believe)
that are not normally used in the continuous (see Unit 4.
Present Continuous and Present Simple (2) I am doing
and I do
- We were good friends. We knew each other well. (not we were knowing)
- I was enjoying the party but Chris wanted to go home. (not was wanting)