Time Past Continuous is one of the few times the English that describe the acts committed in the past. Belonging to a group of its Continuous says that this action was prolonged and lasted for some time. We will be able to determine exactly what kind of action later, and now look at how images of the past for a long time in the English language — Past Continuous Tense.
As forms Past Continuous Tense: rules and examples
Any time of the Continuous Group is analytic, that is a member of the auxiliary and the verb meaning. Constant auxiliary these times — to be, which takes the form, depending on the first word of the title time. In this case, Past, t. E. The auxiliary verb Past Continuous time will take the form was / were. Semantic verb is the same — it is the infinitive of the verb, joined the group since the end of the Continuous — ing.
Thus, the affirmative will look like was / were doing:
I was working. — I worked.
He (she, it) was working. — He (it) worked.
We (you, they) were working. — We (you, you, they) worked.
Questions in the Past Continuous formed as follows: the auxiliary verb is placed before the subject (ie. E. At the beginning of the general question, or immediately after word of the question of a special issue):
Was he working? — He worked?
Were you working? — You worked?
Where was he working? — Where does he work?
In the negative form of particles not placed immediately after the auxiliary verb:
I was not working. — I have not worked.
Reduced forms at this time are only in negative terms: wasn ‘t / weren’ t:
She was not working. — It was not working.
Were not we working? — We do not work?
Use of Past Continuous Tense: examples of proposals
When used Past Continuous? This time is used to show that the action was done in the past, this process lasted for some indefinite time. Now let’s list exactly which functions are performed during Past Continuous Tense with example sentences. Thus, it is used to convey:
- Long-acting, which took place at some point in the past. As a rule, we do not know when it started and how much was going on, the main thing that it took place just at the moment.
It was raining in the morning. — In the morning there was a rain.
We were playing chess at 5 o’clock. — At 5 o’clock we played chess.
As a rule, such proposals or indicate the exact time when the action was performed (at 7 o’clock, at midnight, at noon), or there is some other action, expressed in the Past Simple.
When I returned she was still sitting on the sofa. — When I came back, she was still sitting on the couch.
I opened the window. The cars were passing my house and a man was standing at the traffic lights. — I opened the window. I drove past my house the machine, and the transition was a man.
Also, long-term effect can not occur at a particular time and in a certain period of time in the past:
I was looking for a flat for a long time when I first came to Paris. — I was looking for an apartment for a long time, when I came to Paris for the first time.
— What were you doing in Africa? — What were you doing in Africa?
— We were treating the sick people, but I do not want to go there again. — We have treated cases, but the more I do not want to go back there.
As we have said, time speech markers may be present in a sentence with time Past Continuous, but often time is expressed by another action or clear from the context. Interestingly, and Past Simple, and Past Continuous use words-hint: all day long (all day), all the time (all the time), all day yesterday (last full day), the whole morning (morning) and etc. can be used as Past Simple, and Past Continuous. The only difference is that with the use of Past Simple important only the fact of action, Past Continuous shows the effect of the process.
I was cooking the whole evening yesterday. — Yesterday I was preparing the evening.
I cooked the whole evening yesterday. — Yesterday I was preparing the evening. (Translation is not changed)
- Two or more long-term action in the past took place at the same time. Actions are often linked with the help of the union while (while):
We were trying to open the door while the firemen were fitting the ladder to get into the flat through the window. — We were trying to open the door, and the fire at this time installed a ladder to get into the apartment through a window.
She was playing piano and her sister was singing. The guests were listening to their music with bated breath. — She played the piano, and her sister sang. Guests listened to their music with bated breath.
But if the action did not occur simultaneously, but one after the other, for the transfer can not be used Past Continuous, in which case the actions are put in the Past Simple:
He came to the office at eight, typed some in important letters, then asked the secretary to bring the managers’ reports and analyzed them the whole day. — He came to the office at eight, scored important letters, then asked his secretary to bring records management and analyze them all day.
- Long-acting in the past, which is interrupted by another (usually shorter) action. In this case, interrupted by the action expressed in the Past Continuous, a interrupting action — in the Past Simple. Actions are linked by means of alliances as and when.
I was walking along the street when suddenly I heard a woman’s cry. — I was walking down the street when he heard a woman’s scream.
As he was taking a shower, somebody knocked at his door. — When taking a shower, someone knocked on the door.
As I was explaining the reason for doing this, he interrupted me very rudely. — When I explained the reasons to do so, he rudely interrupted me.
- Time Past Continuous Tense is used in the description:
- environment or atmosphere accompanying the basic steps:
He entered the door. The candles were burning in the corners and the smell of cigarettes was filling the room. The smartly dressed guests were sitting on soft sofas and the waiters were pouring the champagne. — He went inside. In the corners of burning candles and cigarette smell filled the room. Exquisitely dressed guests sat on couches and waiters poured champagne.
The strong wind was howling, the rain was beating against the roof and the trees were bending, creating horrifying shadows. She was terribly scared and decided to ask her sister to stay with her. She lifted the phone but instead of tone she heard deafening silence. — The wind howled, the rain pounding on the roof, trees bent, creating eerie shadows. She was terribly frightened and decided to ask her sister to sit with her. She picked up the phone, but instead of beeps heard the deafening silence.
- a person’s character or habits, which tend to cause irritation or dissatisfaction with the speaker. Such proposals are often used adverb always (always) and constantly (permanently):
He was always making us listen to his stupid ideas considering them to be ingenious. — He always had us listen to your stupid ideas, considering them brilliant.
The boy was constantly playing tricks on his poor mother. — The boy is constantly played his poor mother.
- environment or atmosphere accompanying the basic steps:
If you use Time Past Continuous Tense should not forget that some verbs are not used in the times of the group Continuous. What is the verbs and how they have been described in the article «state verbs in the English language.»
This topic is closely related to the other as described in the articles that need to pay attention:
- «Elapsed time in the English language»
- «Time Past Simple (simple past tense)»
- «Time Past Perfect (Past perfect tense)»
- «Time Past Perfect Continuous»
After reading them, we recommend to pass the following test: «test group times Past».