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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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Should you use a plain/continuous verb after a past continuous one? E.g. 'I was feeling the fear rise/rising up…'

As an example to illustrate my question: I was feeling the fear rise up, trying to stop me, when... I was feeling the fear rising up, trying to stop me, when... I'm not sure what this type of ...
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1answer
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“spied” vs “was spying”

I'm studying Barron's 504 absolutely essential words and came across this sentence: "When the bank guard spied the sinister-looking customer, he drew his gun" but it seems odd to me..we are ...
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2answers
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past simple vs past progressive

Yesterday Sue ____________ (walk) down the street when she met James. He was going to the station to catch a train, and he was carrying a bag. They stopped to talk for a few minutes. The correct ...
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1answer
30 views

“where did you sit” vs. “where were you sitting”

I'm a little confused about the difference between this two sentences. Can you explain the exact meaning and all differences between this two? Where did you sit last section? Where were you ...
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2answers
29 views

usage of 'while' and 'when'

I met many interesting people while I was living in Vancouver. Can I change the sentence above to the sentences below? Do they have slightly different meanings? I met many interesting people when ...
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1answer
33 views

difference between past simple and past continuous - when I called her

When I called her, she was studying. I know what it means. When I called her, she studied. But does the second sentence mean she started studying when I called her?
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1answer
27 views

past simple and past continuous - that summer

He was staying in Rome that summer. He stayed in Rome that summer. Can I use the two sentences above interchangeably? Or do they have slightly different meanings?
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Past tenses of Scuba-diving

Are these two sentences correct? A. Past continuous: We were mainly Scuba-Diving while we were there. B. Past Simple: Last week we Scuba-dove?
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1answer
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Which tense should be used in this situation?

I am confused about what tense I should use in this situation. He ______ (can) picture his brother's face more clearly now, because he had saved the life of a fourteen-year-old boy, who remarkably ...
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1answer
53 views

drove or was driving?

Is it true that if I say "Joe got a ticket because he drove too fast", this means that Joe drove too fast as a habit and instead I should say "Joe got a ticket because he was driving too fast"? Is ...
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1answer
58 views

Why using the past continuous tense when the action has already finished?

Past continuous tense The past continuous describes actions or events in a time before now, which began in the past and is still going on at the time of speaking. In other words, it expresses ...
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1answer
32 views

“Words were different when they (lived / were living) inside of you”

“Words were different when they lived inside of you.” ― Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. Shouldn't it be "...when they were living inside of you."?...
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1answer
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Past Progressive + BEFORE/AFTER + Gerund

Tom Cruise was thinking of a career in the church before finding job in the movies. Tom Cruise wasn't thinking of a career in the church after finding job in the movies. Please tell me, why is ...
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weren't going vs didn't go [duplicate]

I already asked a question about “weren’t playing” vs. “didn’t play”. I’m not sure if the same rules apply in an example like this one: The weather was very bad, so we didn't go north. vs The ...
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weren't playing vs didn't play

Did your team win the football match yesterday? The weather was very bad, so we weren't playing. vs The weather was very bad, so we didn't play. Is the first one not correct? Why is it?
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1answer
38 views

past simple/continuous with a specific time

I was driving too fast last night. I drove too fast last night. I want to know if the past simple and continuous can both be used in this case, because usually the past continuous is used for ...
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1answer
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Equality of continuous and perfect tenses (in a certain context)

Would they be both correct and equal in the same context (just to mention the fact) if I said TODAY: (1)It has been raining all day. (2)It is raining all day. Would they be both correct and ...
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1answer
29 views

Can I use past continuous here?

A:..Then I sent you a message from the cafe to to say where I was last night. B: I didn't get any texts from you yesterday! I tried to phone you but there was no answer. I have two ...
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1answer
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Past Continuous with while

The sentence: The boy stole / was stealing the apples while nobody was looking / looked. Question: Which variant is more appropriate?
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1answer
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Past Simple Passive vs Past Simple with 'follow'

Here is an extract from my grammar practice book. A young man was walking through a supermarket. Suddenly he noticed that he (follow) by an old lady. As far as I understand, in that situation we ...
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Past Simple VS Past Continuous(within the period of time in the past)

Alexander Fleming became interested in the control of bacteria while he was working as a doctor during the First World War. This summer the pool worked only from June till August. I wonder, doesn't ...
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1answer
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Past Continuous vs Past Simple difference in meaning

Could you, please, help me understand this dialogue from my English textbook? A: Why was Ann crying before? B: She had been training for the finals for over a week before she found out she had ...
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2answers
482 views

Is “I was wanting to know” grammatically correct? [duplicate]

Is the following sentence grammatically correct: I was wanting to know if I could sent you a link. It does not sound correct to me.
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1answer
28 views

“the thing someone did was do something” or “the thing someone did was doing something”?

Here is what I have found in Crash Course US history at 13 minute and 4 second, and it really confused me. Whereas if you are an american arguably the most important thing the leader of this era ...
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Past Simple and Past Perfect. “I had seen” or “I saw” him a few days before he left

Yesterday I saw this sentence in some test without any context: I ... (see) him a few days before he ... (leave). My answer was "I'd seen him a few days before he left", but it was wrong. Right ...
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1answer
44 views

using past continuous tense with tomorrow

What does this mean? like I wasn't dreading tomorrow enough having to give it back to him I saw this in friend's series and I don't understand it.
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Why did the author use past continuous in that sentence

I came from a scene that is more punk than the garage scene. The first concerts I was going to were punk, like at the MIROITRIE.for a year Then I went to Canada for a year Why "was going"? Why past ...
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1answer
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past continuous or present perfect continuous

If I play football since I was eight years old and still I am playing football I should say I have been playing football since I was eight. But if I started playing football when I was eight and then ...
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it is possible to combine present perfect continuous and past perfect continuous in a sentence?

Can we describe a continuous action after/before another continuous action in the same sentence using different continuous tenses? For instance something like that: Before I have been reading ...
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1answer
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How to express something that is happening in the future

If something is being written in the past tense, is it correct to say: He was graduating high school in June and entering college in August? How should it be stated?
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1answer
35 views

Past Perfect Continuous vs Past Continuous difference in meaning

In my grammar text book there is a sentence describing Past Perfect vs Past Perfect Continuous difference. I understand the difference between those two tenses, but there is another thing that makes ...
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2answers
86 views

Past Perfect Continuous vs Past Continuous/Past Simple

Doing a grammar task I found this: A: Did you go out last night? B: No, 1) _____(work) all day, so I 2) _____(stay) in and 3) _____(watch) TV. The key says that the only option here is 1) had been ...
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1answer
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is the past continuous with a duration better than the past perfect continuous in that case?

I was looking for him for 8 hours when I have found him I had been looking for him for 8 hours when I have found him Are both sentences equivalent in meaning? I think the second one stress the ...
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1answer
555 views

I was meeting vs. I met

I was meeting some friends at a bar. I met some friends at a bar. was meeting - past continuous met - simple past In my opinion, I prefer to use the latter sentence because I don't normally hear ...
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Past Progressive and Simple Past with the Time Clause (While)

While he was taking a shower, his dogs were eating his steaks. (That is the correct sentence according to the website that I visited.) We use the past progressive with the past progressive to show ...
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meaning of combinations of “past continuous tense” with “past simple tense”

When I was cooking the food I sang songs. (past continuous + past simple) When I cooked the food, I sang songs. (past simple + past simple) When I was cooking the food I was singing songs. (past ...
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1answer
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I was going to say

Joe: Y’know, I don’t think that people really appreciate their parents until they get older. I mean, at least I can say that about myself. And I think it’s true of, y’know, here in America. ...
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3answers
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Why wasn't “When I was in Sharm El-Sheikh, I *have sunbathed* a lot” a good answer?

When I was in Sharm El-Sheikh, I .... a lot A) Have sunbathed B) Was sunbathing C) Would sunbathe D) Sunbathed why it can't be "have sunbathed" as verb sunbathe means to make the skin brown or ...
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is there any difference between saw or was seeing in this example?

If someone was treated by a psychiatrist, is there any difference between : He saw a psychiatrist or he was seeing a psychiatrist? Can either be used?
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2answers
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past simple, past continuous and past perfect continuous

Am I correct? Yesterday lunchtime we had a bust-up. This is just stating a fact. The bust-up happened at lunchtime. Yesterday lunchtime we had been having a bust-up. This is emphasizing the ...
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1answer
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“When I was born my mother WORKED / WAS WORKING as a nurse” – interrupted event or…?

When I was born my mother worked as a nurse. or When I was born my mother was working as a nurse. Is there any other difference than the job being permanent/temporary? Is this an example of an ...
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1answer
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is the past simple possible here?

This is an example from a grammar book: When I was learning to drive I was living with my parents. Is it possible to say: When I was learning to drive I lived with my parents? Usually ...
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Aspects of the past continuous

"In July she was working at MacDonald's." I am not sure which aspect of the past continuous applies in this case. Action in progress around a specific time = in July she was working there, we don't ...
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2answers
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is it correct to use past simple in a moment in the past?

There is a sentence that makes me confused about using cases of past simple and past continuous. one of the past continuous definition is that it's used to describe actions happening at a moment in ...
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2answers
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Can I use “Have been” with “Until” in this sentence?

My intention is to explain that I used to be stressed and depressed but then I read an article about stress relief techniques and that helped me. Is this sentence using "Have been" and "Until" ...
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1answer
352 views

is it possible to use the past continuous with before?

Is it possible to use the past continuous with before? For example: We were watching television before you arrived last night. Or is simple past the only option?
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1answer
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the sun shone or the sun was shining

I would like to know which one is preferable, or are both possible? It is raining now but this morning the sun was shining brightly or it is raining now but this morning the sun shone brightly.
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1answer
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How to undsestand “hence the name by which they are known and ending with the Lateran Treaty of 1929”?

source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capture_of_Rome The whole sentence is: The agreements were signed in the Lateran Palace, hence the name by which they are known and ending with the Lateran ...
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Why is past continuous used instead of simple present in this general statement?

This is exactly the kind of question ELL is hoping to avoid. We don’t want to become a proofreading service, where we are bombarded with sentences or paragraphs from resumés, school essays, technical ...
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past continuous vs past perfect continuous

What is the difference between these two sentences? I took my car to the garage because it wasn't working properly. This means that at that moment my car wasn't working properly. I took my car to ...