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Past Continuous Tense #2, by Dennis Oliver

 

Using The Past Continuous Tense

 

The past continuous tense is most commonly used when
two past actions--one interrupting the other and one longer
than the other--happened at the same time. In this situation,
the simple past tense is used for the shorter action and the
past continuous tense is used for the longer action. The
connecting words while and when are usually used in order
to make the tense differences clear:


I
was taking a shower when you called me. /
When you called me, I was taking a shower.

_______________________


Bob and Carol
were living in Chicago when
their first child was born. /

When Bob and Carol's first child was born,
they were living in Chicago.

_______________________


Julia
was studying in California when she
met her husband. /

When Julia met her husband, she was studying
in California.

_______________________


Someone
called me while I was taking a shower. /
While I was taking a shower, someone called me.

_______________________


Bob and Carol's first child
was born
while they were living in Chicago.

While Bob and Carol were living in Chicago,
their first child was born.

_______________________


Julia
met her husband while she was studying
in California. /

While Julia was studying in California,
she met her husband.

_____________________________________________

 

Special Notes:

 1.

  Notice that every example above shows
two past actions. Notice also that in every
example, one action has was or were
and an -ing verb and the other action has
simple past tense.
     

2.

  In addition, notice that in the examples,
both actions happened at the same time
and that one interrupted the other.

_________________________________

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when and while
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