Questions tagged [past-continuous]

Questions related to the past continuous or past progressive, which expresses an action that was ongoing in the past.

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Past continuous with duration and 2 concurrent actions

Which one of these sentences is preffered, if any: He was playing video games while we were watching him for an hour. He had been playing video games while we had been watching him for an hour. He ...
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I read/was reading a book until I fell asleep

Can we use the past simple with "from .. to.." even if we didn't finish the book/the ship etc. or is it necessary to use the past continuous? Examples with "from .. to ..": I read ...
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I repaired/was reparing my bike from 2 to 4pm

What's the difference between the past simple and the past continuous when using "from ... to ..."? I read a book from 2 to 4pm. I was reading a book from 2 to 4pm. I built a ship from 2 ...
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Past Cont for temporary activity

"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 ...
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“Matt was calling while we were having dinner” Is this correct?

Matt ___ while we were having dinner. A. called B. was calling C. has called I chose B but answer is A. Could you tell me why answer is A.
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PAST CONT/SIMPLE for regular actions

How long did you study English before you faced a burnout? How long were you studying English before you faced a burnout? From my understanding, both are correct and natural, although 2 implies a &...
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How to use the past perfect continuous tense appropriately?

Which of the following is a correct sentence? He was waiting for two hours after she had arrived. or He had been waiting for two hours after she had arrived.
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have been painting vs was painting

Situation: Yesterday I painted half of my room (for any reason I'm not going to continue, maybe I've broken my leg). A friend of mine comes into the room the next day. He says: What's the smell? Which ...
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past progressive or past simple: worked or working

In the following sentences, could the past progressive be replaced by the past simple with no change of meaning? Is there a preferred form? We were working / worked hard yesterday because the boss ...
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How to say your past habits?

In my mother tongue, Japanese, we very often use past continuous to describe our past habits. But how about in English? ex. 1... To say that you were an early bird when you were in high school, ...
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Past progressive (continuous) and hypotheses

Emergencies come up because you don't plan them. But a lot of them you could maybe have done research and seen on the horizon, discontent with employees, a product that wasn't working, something ...
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Usage of simple past and past continuous tenses in this example

Are both sentences grammatically accurate, and how does the meaning differ if at all? Grandma May knitted a sweater while she was listening to music. Grandma May was knitting a sweater while she ...
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British council says "We use the past continuous for something that happened again and again." Is this not true for "used to do"?

British council says "We use the past continuous for something that happened again and again. And they put some sentences below: I was practising every day, three times a day. They were meeting ...
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I'm very tired because I travelled for several hours this morning

According to another thread, sentences 1, 3, and 4 are correct. But sentence 2 doesn't sound idiomatic. Would you please explain the reason? In the afternoon, I said, I'm very tired because I was ...
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was writing vs had been writing

If someone died before he finished writing a book, and he had spent two years on it, which tense should I use: He was writing the/a book for two years before he died. He had been writing the/a book ...
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I slept Vs. I was sleeping [duplicate]

She was so tired that she slept for several hours. She was so tired that she was sleeping for several hours. Do both are correct? My teacher says that the first is correct.
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We didn't know what to do, so we did nothing/ were doing nothing

I was advised to ask this question here, which was originally posted here: [https://english.stackexchange.com/q/580212/381160] I came across this sentence in one of my workbooks: We were in a ...
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Which tense is it the most natural to use when you describe something that happens in a recording?

Which tense is it the most natural to use when you describe something that happens in audio: the present simple, past simple, or past continuous. For example: We are going to listen to a recording, ...
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Which tense should be used for telling short event in the past while another ongoing event is happening?

I want to tell something that I did in the past, while doing something else, and it (the second activity) is still ongoing. Suppose I want to text my friend and at this time I'm still eating. 'Check ...
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3 votes
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Why is 'Pete wasn't studying very hard when he was at university.' incorrect?

Pete wasn't studying very hard when he was at university [1]. The instruction of the question on the exercise I was doing is determining which one sentence is incorrect. The key answer says the ...
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1 vote
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Using past continuous for future event, is it for formality?

There's a sentence taken from Hewing's book (the writer of Advanced Grammar in Use): Write v if the italicized parts are correct. If they are wrong, correct them. We are meeting at seven in the Globe ...
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sat or was sitting?

What's the difference between "sat" and "was sitting" in the following? Are they interchangeable? Mary sat on the bench, looking at George. Mary was sitting on the bench, looking ...
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1 vote
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"while" with Past Simple and Past Continuous (with 2 examples)

Could you explain, please, why "went" is only correct here (that says my grammar book)? Can't I use Past Continuious here, can I? Why in the first example is used "... while I went to ...
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3 votes
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Usage of past progressive "were being used" vs past perfect "had been used"?

In my English book, there's a text that talks about how rainforest plants being used as remedies. More specifically, it talks about how they become more and more common in modern medicine, while the ...
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-1 votes
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Past Simple vs. Past Continuous

I'd appreciate your opinion on this grammar task item to elicit the correct use of the past simple/continuous. Last Halloween little Joe went missing. We ... (run) around the block looking for him ...
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We **were thinking/thought** a lot about where the best place for celebration is - Past Simple or Past Continuous?

Which tense is better here? We were thinking/thought a lot about where the best place for celebration is. In the beginning, we decided to rent a cafe, but it's really expensive nowadays. Later, we ...
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Continuous aspects with “for the third time” and “for three times”

Context: I walked a dog three times today. “I was walking a dog for the third times today.” “I was walking a dog for three times today.” Are both valid expressions?
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2 votes
1 answer
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First , we met at a rehearsal in the city. Our team (had) needed a singer, and she (had) agreed to help. - Past Simple or Perfect [duplicate]

Do we need to use Past Simple or Past Perfect in this case if 'needing' and 'agreeing' happened first? First, we met at a rehearsal in the city. Our team (had) needed a singer, and she (had) agreed ...
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1 vote
0 answers
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"When I worked" and "when I was working" after "used to be" [duplicate]

I have a question about using "when I did ..." and "when I was doing ..." in a certain sentence. When you are talking about a currently busy store that you worked at several years ...
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2 answers
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Why is the progressive form used in “since we weren't playing...”

Why did the author choose a continuous form? Kim would always encourage me to wear baseball hats when we played because she said it made me look a heavy metal drummer, and since we weren't playing ...
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3 answers
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“I was eating two half hamburgers yesterday”

Yesterday, I was eating half of a hamburger at 3 o’clock, and I was eating half of another hamburger at 6 o’clock. Why does “I was eating two half hamburgers yesterday” seem weird unlike “I ate two ...
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Is the tense correct in “I was talking about you for 2 years.”?

Once I've watched a video when reporter said to sportsman who hadn't been participating for 2 years, "I was talking about you for 2 years". Does the reporter use the tense correctly? As far ...
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Past continuous passive or Past simple passive [duplicate]

I was recently doing passive voice exercises when I came upon this sentence in "English Grammar in Use Supplementary Exercises", and here is the aforementioned sentence and the content of ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Which past tense should I use in this sentence

What did you do at this time yesterday? What were you doing at this time yesterday? The simple past tense or the past continuous tense?
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Can I use Simple Past in a subordinate clause with "while" when the main clause is in the Past Progressive?

I was reading while she slept. Or should it necessarily be "I was reading while she was sleeping" or "I read while she slept"? Can I use the Simple Past in a subordinate clause ...
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Is there a rule governing a switch from present perfect to simpler tenses?

— Where have you been? — I've been at a cafe. I was having lunch there. I wonder when one should switch from the present perfect to simpler tenses. Is it a correct example (i.e. shouldn't it be "...
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1 vote
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What is more natural for describing last night's actions, past simple or progressive?

— What did you do last night? — I watched YouTube. And what about you? — I met up with a friend and we watched a movie. — And what did you do before the meeting? — I roller-skated. My textbook says ...
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0 votes
2 answers
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Usage of "Had been" and "Used to"

Are this two tenses convenient to use for the same purpose, for the event in the past that began, lasted and finished? For example: I used to live in London I had been living in London Where is the ...
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1 answer
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I am reading or I was reading a book?

Suppose I am reading a book and a friend calls me and asks what I am doing. Can I answer:"I am reading a book" even though I have stopped reading for the moment to answer the phone, or ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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How can "start" be used in past continuous?

Another multiple-choice question: What were you doing when Lucy phoned you? I had just finished my work and _____ to read a book. The answer is "was starting." I think the answer is wrong ...
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2 votes
1 answer
54 views

That's the guy I talked to./That's the guy I was talking to

Person 1: His said his name was Heathcliff- Person 2: That's him. That's the guy I talked/was talking to. I know "I talked to" is fine, but would "I was talking to" also be natural ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Why is the perfect used instead of past continuous in "Every time I've visited her...she has been working hard"?

Every time I've visited her in the last month, she has been working hard. This is a sentence from a grammar textbook. I don't understand why we use Present Perfect Continuous instead of Past ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Used to and past continuous

The first few weeks or months I ___ that I was eating chocolate or cakes, and them I woke up in the morning and my body was crying for sugar. a) was dreaming b) used to dreaming c) used to dream d) ...
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0 answers
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past simple and past continuous in this context

which one is correct? "when I got the job offer I was still working in my old company, which I'd worked for 7 years" "when I got the job offer I still worked in my old company, which I'...
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4 answers
306 views

Difference between Past Simple and Past Continuous in a sentence

I was running a test and made a mistake in the sentence "They lived in Germany when they were young." I used Past Continuous instead of Past Simple, that is "They were living in Germany ...
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Is there any difference in meaning between the past simple and the past continuous when used before "till" or "until"?

Could you tell me if there is any difference in meaning between the past simple and the past continuous when used before till? For example: I worked till midnight and then went to bed. I was working ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
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Are the past continuous and and the past perfect continuous interchangeable in certain contexts?

Could you tell me if the past continuous and and the past perfect continuous are interchangeable in certain context? For example: Before I moved to the countryside I was living in the city for ...
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1 answer
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Did I use correct tenses in this sentence?

Regarding my competence in speaking about this topic, I could say that: I learned German at school, or I was learning German at School. I studied German, or I was studying German.
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1 answer
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“She waited for me for two hours” “She had been waiting for me for two hours”

She waited for me for two hours She had been waiting for me for two hours Which statement is more correct? And how do we know which statement we should use?
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3 votes
2 answers
56 views

Can "before" be equal to "when" in certain contexts?

There are the following sentences: "I had been waiting for three months before they finally sent me an answer" "He had been waiting for the bus for 10 minutes before it arrived" ...
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