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Past Continuous

Was/were+verb-ing

Past Continuous is used:

  1. for an action that was in the middle of happening at a stated time in the past.

At 8 o’clock last night she was watching TV.

  1. for two or more actions which were happening at the same time in the past (simultaneous actions).

They were dancing while he was playing the guitar.

  1. for a past action which was in progress when another action interrupted it. We use Past Continuous for the interrupted action and Past Simple for the action which interrupts it.

He was painting the bedroom when suddenly he fell off the ladder.

  1. to describe the background to the events in the story.

We were walking in the woods. It was raining hard.

Ex. 46. Put the verbs into Past Continuous.

  1. He usually wears sandals but when I last saw him he (wear) boots.

  2. The house was in great disorder because he (redecorate) it.

  3. The director didn't allow the actors to travel by air while they (work) on the film.

  4. The car had nobody in it but the engine (run).

  5. Two children (play) on the sand and two fishermen (lean) against an upturned boat.

  6. I was alone in the house at that time because Mr Jones (work) in the garage and Mrs Jones (shop).

  7. He said that he was the captain of a ship which (sail) that night for Marseilles.

  8. Are you going to Rome? 1 thought that you (go) to Milan.

  9. My wife and I (talk) about you the other day.

  10. When I first met him he (study) painting.

  11. There was a strong smell and the sound of frying. Obviously Mrs Jones (cook) fish.

  12. Tom ate nothing for lunch because he (diet). He said that he (try) to lose 10 kilos.

  13. Who you (talk) to on the telephone as I came in? I (talk) to Mr Pitt.

  14. As she (climb) the ladder it slipped sideways and she fell off it.

  15. When I first met him he (work) in a restaurant.

  16. He watched the children for a moment. Some of them (bathe) in the sea, others (look) for shells, others (play) in the sand.

  17. Where he (live) when you saw him last?

  18. She (stand) at the bus stop. I asked her what bus she (wait) for.

  19. From the sounds it was clear that Mary (practise) the piano.

  20. There had been an accident and men (carry) the injured people to an ambulance.

Ex. 47. Put the verbs in brackets into Simple Past or Past Continuous.

1 I lit the fire at 6.00 and it (burn) brightly when Tom came in at 7.00.

2 When I arrived the lecture had already started and the professor (write) on the overhead projector.

3 I (make) a cake when the light went out. I had to finish it in the dark.

4 I didn't want to meet Paul so when he entered the room I (leave).

5 Unfortunately when I arrived Ann just (leave), so we only had time for a few words.

6 He (watch) TV when the phone rang. Very unwillingly he (turn) down the sound and (go) to answer it.

7 He was very polite. Whenever his wife entered the room he (stand) up.

8 The admiral (play) bowls when he received news of the invasion. He (insist) on finishing the game.

9 My dog (walk) along quietly when Mr Pitt's Pekinese attacked him.

10 When I arrived she (have) lunch. She apologized for starting without me but said that she always (lunch) at 12.30.

11 He always (wear) a raincoat and (carry) an umbrella when he walked to the office.

12 What you (think) of his last book? -I (like) it very much.

13 I (share) a flat with him when we were students. He always (complain) about my untidiness.

14 He suddenly (realize) that he (travel) in the wrong direction.

15 He (play) the guitar outside her house when someone opened the window and (throw) out a bucket of water.

16 I just (open) the letter when the wind (blow) it out of my hand.

17 The burglar (open) the safe when he (hear) footsteps. He immediately (put) out his torch and (crawl) under the bed.

18 When I (look) for my passport I (find) this old photograph.

19 You looked very busy when I (see) you last night. What you (do)? The boys (play) cards when they (hear) their father's step. They immediately (hide) the cards and (take) out their lesson books.

20 He (clean) his gun when it accidentally (go) off and (kill) him.

Ex. 48. Put each verb in brackets into either Past Simple or Past Continuous.

a) When Harry (wake up) ......woke up............ , we (tell) ....told….him the news.

b) Everyone (wait) .................................... for the concert to begin when a message (arrive) ..................

c) Charlotte (want) .................................... a relaxing holiday, so she (choose) ......................... to stay on a small island.

d) When Roberto (study) .................................... in America, his parents (phone) .......................... him every week.

e) I (find) .................................... my pen while I (look for) ........................my bag.

f) Ann (watch) .................................... a film on television when Julie (arrive) ............................ .

g) When the lights (go out) .................................... , I (lie) ...........................in bed reading.

h) When you (go) .................................... to the new Chinese restaurant, what (you eat).................. ?

Unit 6 The Future

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