Past Continuous

The past continuous describes an action that was happening when another action interrupts

Last month a student from China joined our class. She came in, introduced herself, and began to talk about her country. She showed us where she was from on a map. While she was talking about her home town, the school bell suddenly rang.

I was writingI was not writingWas I writing?
You were skiingYou were not skiingWere you skiing?
He was readingHe wasn’t readingWas he reading?
We were tryingWe weren’t tryingWere we trying?
They were dyingThey weren’t dyingWere they dying?

Actions that were in progress at a particular time in the past and descriptions of habits

  • At midnight, we were still driving .
  • Yesterday at this time, I was sitting at my desk at work.
  • He was constantly talking. He annoyed everyone.
  • I didn’t like them because they were always complaining.

Parallel actions to describe the atmosphere at a particular time in the past

When I walked into the office, several people were busily typing, some were talking on the phones, the boss was yelling directions, and customers were waiting to be helped. One customer was shouting at a secretary and waving his hands. Others were complaining to each other about the bad service.

Friday the 13th. Everything went wrong for Larry. Look at his misfortunes

Here there are some questions about the pictures. Try to answer them without looking at the texts
More and more things went wrong for Larry. Join the sentences according to the pictures
Write a short narration for each event. For example:

On Sunday Larry was swimming in the sea when his shorts came off in the water. He felt very embarrased because there were a lot of people on the beach. He had to wait inside the water until everyone left.

reference: New Generation Colin Granger Heinemann

reference: English for Life Pre-Intermediate Oxford


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