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. The interruption is usually a shorter action in the Simple Past. Remember this can be a real interruption or just an interruption in time.

1.1. Examples: • I was watching TV when she called. • When the phone rang, she was writing a letter. • While we were having the picnic, it started to rain. • What were you doing when the earthquake started? • I was listening to my iPod, so I didn't hear the fire alarm.

2. FORM [was/were + present participle]

2.1. Examples: • You were studying when she called. • Were you studying when she called? • You were not studying when she called.

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. Examples: • Last night at 6 PM, I ate dinner. I STARTED EATING AT 6 PM. • Last night at 6 PM, I was eating dinner. I STARTED EARLIER; AND AT 6 PM, I WAS IN THE PROCESS OF EATING DINNER.