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8-D) The Past Continuous (Smrt English) (Canada) UNIT 8 lesson D

A lesson on the past continuous.

The past continuous is very simple if you know the present continuous. Just change the verb "to be" into the past:

I am watching TV now --> I was watching TV yesterday
She's not listening to me! --> She wasn't listening to me!
are you playing golf with Susan? --> Were you playing golf with Susan last Monday?

SIMPLE PAST VS PAST CONTINUOUS

We use the simple past to say that something happened at a particular moment:
- I worked 5 hours yesterday
- I lived in Rome when I was a child

We use the past continuous to say that something was happening at a particular moment: the action started before that time, and it finished at that time:
- Yesterday, at 3 o'clock, I was working
- In 1980 I was living in Rome (I went to Rome before 1980 and I also lived in Rome after 1980)
- In 1980 I lived in Rome (I went to Rome in 1980, I lived there for one year but in 1981 I was living in a different city)

When we use the simple past or the past continuous, I am talking about a past action, not a present one, so if I am still living in Rome I can't say "I was living in Rome", I have to say "I am living in Rome".

The most common use of the past continuous is when telling a story. We use the past continuous to describe an action that was happening for some time and then stopped when another action happened. Look at this: Past Continuous.

Here you can practise with these exercises (at the end there is a button to check your answers) :
Exercise 1, Exercise 2.

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