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Unit 6. Past continuous (I was doing).

Unit 6; Part A

galka.jpgStudy this example situation:
6.1.jpgYesterday 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   was
we/you/they   were


Unit 6; Part B

I was doing something = I was in the middle of doing something at a ce/tain 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 Helen, but she wasn't looking.

Unit 6; Part C

galka.jpgCompare 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 an action)
•  Kate was watching television when we arrived.
Past simple (complete action)
•  I walked home after the party last night.
   (= all the way, completely)
•  Kate watched television a lot when she was ill last year.

Unit 6; Part D

galka.jpgWe often use the past simple and the past continuous together to say that something happened in the middle of something else:
•  Matt phoned while we were having dinner.
•  It was raining when I got up.
•  I saw you in the park yesterday. You were sitting on the grass and reading a book.
•  I hurt my back while I was working in the garden.

But we use the past simple to say that one thing happened after another:

•  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 before she arrived)
•  When Karen arrived, we had dinner.
(= Karen arrived, and then we had dinner)

Unit 6; Part E

Some verbs (for example, know and want) are not normally used in the continuous (see Unit 4A):
•  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)


flag.jpgWhat were you doing at these times? Write sentences as in the examples. The past continuous is not always necessary (see the second example).
Key.Example answers:
3    I was working.
4    I was in bed asleep.
5    I was getting ready to go out.
6    I was watching TV at home.

1    (at 8 o'clock yesterday evening)   I was having dinner.   
2    (at 5 o'clock last Monday)  I was on a bus on my way home.   
3    (at 10.15 yesterday morning) _______________________________
4    (at 4.30 this morning) _______________________________
5    (at 7.45 yesterday evening) _______________________________
6    (half an hour ago) _______________________________
flag.jpgUse your own ideas to complete the sentences. Use the past continuous.
Key.Example answers:
2    was having a shower
3    were waiting for the bus
4    was reading the paper
5    was watching it

1    Matt phoned while we  were having dinner .   
2    The doorbell rang while I __________________.
3    We saw an accident while we __________________. 
4    Ann fell asleep while she __________________.
5    The television was on, but nobody __________________.
flag.jpgPut the verb into the correct form, past continuous or past simple.
Key.2    were you doing   
3    Did you go   
4    were you driving ... happened
5    took ... wasn't looking   
6    didn't know   
7    saw ... was trying   
8    was walking ... heard ... was following ... started  
9    wanted   
10  dropped ... was doing ... didn't break

1    Jenny  was waiting  (wait) for me when I  arrived  (arrive).
2    'What _______________ (you / do) at this time yesterday?'  
      'I was asleep.'
3    '_______________ (you / go) out last night?'   
      'No, I was too tired.'
4    How fast _______________ (you / drive) when the accident _______________ (happen)?
5    Sam _______________ (take) a photograph of me while I _______________ (not / look).
6    We were in a very difficult position. We _______________ (not / know) what to do.
7    I haven't seen Alan for ages. When I last _______________ (see) him, he _______________ (try) to find a job.
8    I _______________ (walk) along the street when suddenly I _______________ (hear) footsteps behind me. Somebody _______________ (follow) me. I was scared and I _______________ (start) to run.
9    When I was young, I _______________ (want) to be a pilot.
10   Last night I _______________ (drop) a plate when I _______________ (do) the washing up. Fortunately it _______________ (not / break).

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