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  • Hi, everybody. I'm Esther.

  • In this video. I will introduce the past continuous tense.

  • This tense can be used to describe an action that was ongoing in the past.

  • It can also be used to describe two actions happening at the same time in the past.

  • There's a lot to learn so let's get started.

  • Let's take a look at the first usage of the past continuous tense.

  • This tense can be used to describe an action that was ongoing in the past.

  • Let's take a look at these examples.

  • 'I was walking in the park in the evening.'

  • So first we start with the subject, 'I'.

  • For I, he, she, and it, we follow with 'was'. 'I was'

  • And then we add an 'ING' to the end of the verb.

  • 'I was walking'

  • Now take a look at the whole sentence.

  • 'I was walking in the park in the evening.'

  • You can see that this was an ongoing action and it happened in the past.

  • Let's look at the next example.

  • 'She was living here last year.'

  • Here, the subject is 'she'.

  • So again we use 'was' and then 'verb-ing'.

  • Here we have another expression that shows that this action was happening in the past.

  • 'The dog,' or 'it', 'was eating dinner five minutes ago.'

  • The subject here is 'the dog' which can be replaced by the pronoun 'it'.

  • And so we follow with 'was'.

  • And finally, 'Andy and Jim,' we can replace this with 'they'.

  • For 'you', 'we' and 'they', we use 'were'.

  • 'They were', or 'Andy and Jim were working at 9:00 p.m.'

  • Let's move on.

  • The past continuous tense is also used to describe an ongoing

  • action in the past that was interrupted by another action.

  • This interrupting action is used in the past simple tense with the word 'when'.

  • Let's take a look at this example.

  • 'I was playing cards when you called.'

  • Again we start with the subject 'was' or 'were',

  • and then 'verb-ing',

  • so this is the action that was ongoing in the past,

  • 'I was playing cards'

  • The interrupting action in this sentence is 'you called'.

  • You'll notice I use the word 'when' to show the interrupting action'

  • And I used it in the past simple tense, 'called'.

  • Let's take a look at the next sentence.

  • 'The cat' or 'it' was eating when Eric came home.'

  • Again the action in progress is 'the cat was eating'.

  • And 'Eric came home', you'll notice the past simple tense.

  • This is the interrupting action used with the word 'when'.

  • 'We were sleeping when Anne arrived.'

  • Again we have the ongoing action in the past.

  • The subject here is 'we'. And so we used 'were' and then 'verb-ing'.

  • 'When Anne arrived' is the interrupting action.

  • And finally, 'Alicia and I', or 'We' were walking when we saw Mark.'

  • 'When we saw Mark' is the interrupting action that interrupted the ongoing 'Alicia and I were walking'.

  • It's also important to note that we can also switch the order of the sentence around and say,

  • 'When you called, I was playing cards,'

  • or 'When Eric came home, the cat was eating.'

  • Let's move on.

  • Another usage for the past continuous tense is to talk about two actions that were

  • happening at the same time in the past.

  • We use the past continuous tense for both actions with the word 'while'.

  • Let's take a look at some examples.

  • The first sentence says, 'While I was playing soccer, she was watching me.'

  • You'll notice that both actions are in the past continuous tense.

  • 'I was playing soccer' and 'She was watching me'.

  • The word 'while' at the beginning shows that these actions were happening at the sametime.

  • 'While you were reading, I was preparing dinner.'

  • Again both actions are expressed in the past continuous tense.

  • The word 'while' shows that they were happening at the same time.

  • 'While Her husband' or 'he', 'was driving she was taking pictures.'

  • Both actions are in the past continuous tense.

  • And finally,

  • 'While we were eating, the music was playing.'

  • Both actions were happening at the same time.

  • Now, you'll notice that in my examples the word 'while' comes at the beginning,

  • however, it's important to note that you can move the word 'while' around in several ways.

  • For example, instead of saying this,

  • 'While I was playing soccer, she was watching me.'

  • I can move 'while' to the middle of the sentence.

  • 'I was playing soccer while she was watching me.'

  • I can put the 'while' between the two actions.

  • Or I can also change the sentence around and say,

  • 'While she was watching me, I was playing soccer.'

  • So it doesn't matter which action comes first with the 'while' if you put it in the beginning.

  • Let's move on.

  • Now let's talk about the negative form of the past continuous tense.

  • Here are some examples.

  • 'She was not reading last night.'

  • The subject is 'she' and so we use 'was'.

  • However, before the 'verb-ing', we add 'not'.

  • 'She was not reading last night.'

  • I can use a contraction and say,

  • 'She wasn't reading last night.'

  • 'We were not listening to music this morning.'

  • In this case, the subject is 'we' and so we use 'were'.

  • Again 'not' comes before the 'verb-ing'.

  • 'We were not listening to music this morning.'

  • Again I can use a contraction and say,

  • 'We weren't listening to music this morning.'

  • And the next one says, 'He wasn't watching TV when his dad came home.'

  • In this example, the contraction is already there for you,

  • 'He wasn't watching TV'.

  • You'll notice the word 'when'.

  • Remember 'when' + 'a past simple tense verb' shows an interrupting action,

  • so, 'When his dad came home he wasn't watching TV.'

  • He was doing something else.

  • And finally,

  • 'They weren't talking while the game was playing.'

  • The word 'while' is in this sentence.

  • Remember that shows 2 past ongoing actions happening at the same time,

  • so 'While the game was playing they weren't talking'.

  • They were doing something else.

  • Let's move on now.

  • Let's talk about how to form 'be' verb questions for the past continuous tense.

  • Take a look at the first statement.

  • It says,

  • 'It was raining this morning.'

  • In order to turn this into a question, it's quite easy,

  • all we have to do is change the order of the first two words.

  • Instead of 'It was', I now say 'Was it' to make it a question.

  • You'll notice that the rest of the words stay in the same place.

  • 'Was it raining this morning?'

  • You can answer by saying, 'Yes, it was.' or 'No, it wasn't.'

  • The next statement says,

  • 'They were living there when the fire happened.'

  • To turn this into a big question, again we just switched the order of the first two words.

  • Instead of 'They were', we say 'Were they'.

  • And again, the rest of the words can stay in the same place.

  • 'Were they living there when the fire happened?'

  • And you can answer by saying,

  • 'Yes, they were' or 'No, they weren't.'

  • Let's continue on.

  • Now I'll go into how to make WH questions for the past continuous tense.

  • You'll notice that the examples here all begin with some WH words.

  • For example, 'what', 'where', 'why', and 'who'.

  • Let's take a look at the first question.

  • 'What were they doing last night?”

  • The subject of this sentence is 'they'.

  • So what you do is after the WH word you put the proper 'be' verb.

  • In this case, 'were'.

  • 'What were they doing last night?'

  • You'll notice that after the subject comes the 'verb-ing'.

  • 'What were they doing last night?'

  • I can answer by saying, 'They were playing games' or

  • 'They were reading a book'.

  • The next question says,

  • 'Where was he working last week?'

  • In this case the subject is 'he' and so the be verb to use is 'was'.

  • 'Where was he working last week?'

  • I can say, 'He was working in Canada.'

  • 'Why was she crying when she finished the book?'

  • In this case, the subject is 'she' and so I put 'was' after 'why'.

  • 'Why was she crying when she finished the book?'

  • I can say, 'She was crying because the ending was sad.'

  • And finally,

  • 'Who were the children staying with while their mom was working?'

  • In this case, 'the children' is a 'they'

  • so we follow 'who' with 'were'.

  • 'Who were they' or

  • 'Who were the children staying with while their mom was working?'

  • To answer, I can say, 'The children' or

  • 'They were staying with their dad.'

  • Let's move on.

  • Good job, everybody in learning the past continuous tense.

  • This tense can be a little difficult and a little tricky.

  • Especially, when it comes to the 'when' and 'while' usage.

  • It'll take some practice to really master it, but I know you can do it.

  • Keep studying English and I'll see you in the next video.

Hi, everybody. I'm Esther.

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A2 tense continuous tense continuous action subject ongoing

Learn Past Continuous Tense | Basic English Grammar Course

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    Summer posted on 2020/06/08
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