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1. Interrupted Action in the Past

1.1. definition:Use the Past Continuous to indicate that a longer action in the past was interrupted

1.2. Example: I was watching TV when she called. When the phone rang, she was writing a letter.

2. Specific Time as an Interruption

2.1. described above, the Past Continuous is interrupted by a shorter action in the Simple Past.

2.2. Examples: Last night at 6 PM, I was eating dinner. At midnight, we were still driving through the desert.

3. Parallel Actions

3.1. When you use the Past Continuous with two actions in the same sentence, it expresses the idea that both actions were happening at the same time. The actions are parallel.

3.2. Examples: I was studying while he was making dinner. While Ellen was reading, Tim was watching television.

4. Atmosphere

4.1. Definiton: The Past Continuous with words such as "always" or "constantly" expresses the idea that something irritating or shocking often happened in the past

4.2. Examples: She was always coming to class late. He was constantly talking. He annoyed everyone.