Thursday 26 March 2020

Past Continuous Tense

Past Continuous Tense

Past Continuous Tense describes an action or event which began in the past and was continued, in progress and incomplete at some time in past when it is talked about or reported. That’s why it is also known as Past Progressive Tense. In simpler terms, it expresses an unfinished or incomplete action in the past.

Past Continuous Tense is used to –
1.    describe an action that was going on during some period of time in past :
·       We were listening to the radio all evening.
·       I was working in a construction company in 2012.

2.    describe an unfinished action that was interrupted by another event or action in past :
·       I was having a beautiful dream but the alarm clock woke me up.
·       I was going to spend the day at the beach but I was called back by mom.

3.    describe / express a change of mind / a temporary event or situation / shift from regular action in past :
·       It was raining, but suddenly the sun started shining.

4.    describe the background / setting of a story :
·       The sun was shining brightly, the birds were chirping and cool breeze was blowing when I happened to notice a cute cat on the river bank.

Adverbs used in the Tense
then                               in the morning
that time                       in 1990
last year this time         that day
when                             in the evening

Verb form used in the Tense :
Past continuous verb form consists of two things –
1. Past tense form of the verb ‘Be’ –       was (singular)
               were (plural)
2. Present particle form (V1+ing) of main verb
    e.g.   talk+ing = talking          play+ing + playing    
             smile+ing = smiling      swim+ing =  swimming    
             write+ing = writing       cut+ing  = cutting

Examples :
I was going to attend a family function that day.
The boys were playing football in lunch time.

Forms of be
Present Participle form of verb
was / were
Verb 1 + ing
Shyam was
playing in the park in evening.
She was
talking to her friend on phone when you came.
I was
reading ‘A Bend in the River’ that time.
You were
preparing for your class test when I called.
They were
going for a movie in evening.
My grandparents were
living with us those days.

Verbs not used in Continuous Tenses :

The verbs which convey sensory actions, perception, possession and state of mind are not used in Continuous Tenses. These verbs are enlisted below:

feel                      hear                     have (to possess)        
       smell                    measure             assume
believe                 consider             seem        
find                       suppose             forget                 
imagine                know                  mean                  
recognise             remember           understand       
        fear                       hate                    hope        
        love                      mind                   prefer    
        wish                     cost                     hold                    

Note: With verbs which are not normally used in the continuous form, Simple Past Tense is used.

For example – I was feeling bad.  ( Incorrect )
I felt bad.  ( correct )

He was knowing it would happen.  ( Incorrect )
He knew it would happen. ( correct )

More examples :

The baby was sleeping when you knocked at the door.
She was not going to meet her friends.
He was working in Mumbai Hotel that year.
Were you planning to visit Taj Mahal in summer?
Was John playing football match for the school?
Frank was talking on phone at that moment.
When the teachers entered, the students were shouting.
When my friend came, I was sleeping in my room.
They were waiting for the bus when the accident happened.
When we arrived, he was having a bath.
When the fire started, I was watching television.

Let’s practise
1.    The kids __________  in the ground in afternoon. (play)
2.    Caroline __________, when she broke her leg. (ski)
3.    Murli _____________ in the pool at that moment. (swim)
4.    We ________ to have dinner when uncle arrived. (go)
5.    The students ________  for Annual Function. (practise)
6.    What _____ you ________ in the holidays? (do)
7.    ____  you _________ in the weekend? (travel)
8.    It ____________ heavily in the morning. (rain)
9.    Which film ________ in Ansal Plaza yesterday? (run)
10. The students _________  in the first period. (play)

Answers :
1.    were playing       2. was skiing           3. was swimming         
4. were going          5. were practising    6. were - doing        
7. were – travelling      8. was raining     9. was running
10. were playing

      Past Tense

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