"I am working 12 hours a day this month"

Pres. Cont. is used here because the speaker intends to emphasize that this situation is temporary, i.e. it is expected to last only within the time frame of this month.

"He is wearing a suit today"

Similar logic applies here, The speaker uses Continuous aspect because they consider this activity to be temporary and NOT last indefinitely into the future, and remain with the timeframe of today.

Does Past Continuous have those uses? From what I know,

"I was working 12 hours a day last month"

is not a standalone separate statement and has to be completed with either interruption in the past "..until a got a heart attack" or some comparison to the present situation "...and this month I'm working only 6" If I don't wish to add any comparison/interruption/conclusion I should change it to

"I worked 12 hours a day last month"

however, the sentence will lose its "temporarity" (i.e. last month will NOT sound like a special, unusual period for the speaker and "working 12 hours a day" will also sound like more or less of a usual activity) Is my understanding correct? Is it possible to say "He was wearing a suit yesterday" without having to add interruption or comparison (i.e. "..but he is wearing jumper and jeans today")? Same question for "I was working 12 hours a day last month"

1 Answer 1


All your examples about past periods are fine. The very fact that you are specifying "last month" makes it tacit that you are differentiating it from any other time period, including the present.

For example, you would not likely say "he was wearing a suit yesterday" if he was also wearing a suit today. If that was the case, you might instead say:

  • He was wearing a suit yesterday, too.
  • He started wearing a suit yesterday.
  • He has been wearing a suit since yesterday.

Likewise, if you started working the 12-hour days last month but that trend continues into the current month, you might say something like "I have been working 12-hour days since last month".

  • Thank you, I also had another example on my mind I wanted to ask about: "I live in Iceland, so we don't have much fruits and sunshine and I don't like to read, but when I was on vacation in Egypt I was eating fruits, sunbathing and even reading" is this a correct use of Past. Cont? If yes, is it because the situation is temporary and swimming/sunbathing/reading are unusual actions that took place only within the timeframe of vacation? May 17, 2022 at 8:42

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