Past Continuous

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Past Continuous by Mind Map: Past Continuous

1. Use the Past Continuous to indicate that a longer action in the past was interrupted.

1.1. • I was watching TV when she called

2. In USE 1, described above, the Past Continuous is interrupted by a shorter action in the Simple Past. However, you can also use a specific time as an interruption.

2.1. • Last night at 6 PM, I was eating dinner

3. IMPORTANT In the Simple Past, a specific time is used to show when an action began or finished. In the Past Continuous, a specific time only interrupts the action.

3.1. • Last night at 6 PM, I ate dinner.

4. 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.

4.1. • I was studying while he was making dinner

5. In English, we often use a series of parallel actions to describe the atmosphere at a particular time in the past.

5.1. • 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 yelling at a secretary and waving his hands. Others were complaining to each other about the bad service.

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

6.1. • She was always coming to class late.