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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6
votes
2answers
1k views

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?
6
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1answer
8k views

… I was being! / what does it mean?

I could hardly believe how bold I was being! I got detention because a teacher said I was being contumacious ..... What does the word being here mean ? and what are the tenses in these sentences ...
6
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1answer
5k views

Simple past vs past progressive in as/while/when-clauses

I was given a link to this Q and A board by a member of English Language & Usage and this issue has been rattling around in my head for almost a day now. QUESTION by https://ell.stackexchange.com/...
5
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1answer
2k views

Past Simple vs Past Continuous (with for/because)

The following two example were taken from F2F course workbook with answers included but there is no reasoning in the workbook. In both of them, I feel the past simple and the past continuous are ...
5
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1answer
120 views

“If you explained what you ___ trying to achieve, I would …”

I've written the next sentence If you explained what you are trying to achieve, I would recommend a kind of workaround. and it has raised doubts about the tense I should have used in the ...
4
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2answers
911 views

Using past continuous to refer to past habits with adverbials of frequency?

Can we use past continuous tense to refer a past habit with adverbs of frequency words? For example: He was going for a morning walk every day. What is the difference between these two phrases? ...
4
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2answers
313 views

Is the following usage of past progressive correct?

What is the difference between the past continuous and the simple past usage of these sentences? They were fighting Nazis for three days. And They fought Nazis for three days. Can ...
4
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2answers
140 views

Past progressive for a finished event

It was Friday, the first day of our skiing holiday, and my friend Jason and I __________ down the mountain together. We wanted to catch the ski lift back down to our hotel. I answered had been skiing,...
4
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1answer
2k views

(did not listen) vs (was not listening) (past simple vs past continuous)

Miguel came to the presentation but he seemed very distracted and he __________ (not/listen) to anything that the speaker said. This is an exercise on practicing with the form of the past ...
4
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1answer
111 views

Correctness of “I had been X (profession) for some time”? [closed]

Is it correct to say "I had been X (profession) for some time" when now I am not working as X? Example: I had been karting driver for 7 years
4
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5answers
1k views

What is the difference between “was going every day” and “would go every day”?

What is the difference between these two phrases? "He was going for a morning walk every day" vs "He would go for a morning walk every day"
4
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1answer
72 views

“Everyone at school was looking at what I wore” - why not “Everyone at school looked at what I was wearing”?

When I was a teenager, I used to think that everyone at school was looking at me and judging what I looked like, what I wore, and how I acted. Why "everyone at school was looking at me and judging" ...
3
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2answers
163 views

Maise ate / had been eating sweets all evening so it was not suprising > she didn't want any supper

On my last lesson I had a discussion with my teacher about the sentence described below. The reason was that on my grammar reference in one of my books is written that past perfect continuos can be ...
3
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1answer
46 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."?...
3
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2answers
9k views

I lived Vs. I was living

In 1999, I was living in Cuba. In 1999, I lived in Cuba. Do both sentences seem grammatically correct? My teacher had told that the first sentence, which is with past continuous, is incorrect. ...
3
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1answer
5k views

“had walked” vs “was walking”

In both cases chronological order is obvious, so what is the difference? I had walked along the road when I saw Dan. So I stopped, and we had a chat. I was walking along the road when I saw Dan. So ...
3
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1answer
855 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
169 views

Past Perfect vs Past Perfect Continuous

A- When I last went to Moscow, they had renovated St Basil's Cathedral, (They finished renovating the cathedral before I went to Moscow,) B- When I last went to Moscow, they had been ...
3
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1answer
53 views

Difference between Past continuous and Past perfect continuous

In these following sentences, which one is grammatically correct? They were playing football since 10 o'clock. They had been playing football since 10 o'clock. According to this reference ...
3
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2answers
120 views

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" ...
3
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1answer
37 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 ...
3
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1answer
54 views

No need of continuous with while?

They met one day while John's father was reading a book in the library and his mother sat down beside him. Why it is not was sitting? Is it because of the while conjunction. Have both actions the ...
3
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1answer
127 views

Past perfect continuous or past progressive

What is the difference in meaning between these 2 sentences: He did not answer because he had been thinking of his holidays. He did not answer because he was thinking of his holidays. I ...
3
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2answers
2k views

“past continuous tense” vs “would + infinitive”

First example: Maria thought John was going to invite her to the party. Mary thought John would invite her to the party. Second example: They thought the film was going to start at 8:...
3
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1answer
70 views

Past simple or past coninuous?

I Need to prove my teacher wrong. We had an English test and there was this one task where we had to put the verbs in the right past tense (past simple or past continuous). So the sentence was: ...
3
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2answers
1k views

What's the difference between “It had snowed in the night, so the bus didn't arrive.” & “It snowed in the night, so the bus didn't arrive.”?

What's the difference between It had snowed in the night, so the bus didn't arrive. It snowed in the night, so the bus didn't arrive. I think in the first sentence there is causality and ...
3
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1answer
216 views

Simple vs continuous in the past tense and in the future tense

Even though I understand the difference between the simple and the continuous aspect of the English tense system, I sometimes struggle to understand what each of these two aspects expresses in some ...
3
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2answers
13k views

Are “I was understanding” and “I am understanding” grammatical?

I know the phrases "I understand" (present) and "I understood" (past). But recently I saw the phrases "I was understanding" and "I am understanding" (e.g. "Okay. I was understanding it"). I think ...
3
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1answer
104 views

past continuous - justified?

Look at this text please: Eventually, I lowered the window of the car and he said "Could you help me?" I took the risk. He explained that while he was driving he had had a terrible argument ...
3
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2answers
656 views

past perfect continuous

This is the first paragraph of an article: The salvage operation had been a complete failure. The small ship, Elkor, which had been searching the Barents Sea for weeks, was on tis way home. A radio ...
3
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2answers
376 views

Use of “were” and “would” in past tense

I want to say to my school friend that: This is the same bench on which we would seat in our school days. Or should is say, This is the same bench on which we were sitting in our school days.
2
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3answers
227 views

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 ...
2
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2answers
14k views

Difference between (was thinking / thought / have thought / had thought)

Consider the following dialogue: A: I think we should go to China for our holiday this year. B: Sorry, what did you say? I was thinking about my work. If I replaced "was thinking" with "...
2
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1answer
447 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?
2
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3answers
67 views

Can this case be considered a substitution for the past continuous and future continuous tense

He left the stage to prolonged applause Can you explain using a preposition 'to' in this context, is it considered as substitution for the past continuous and future continuous tenses? while ...
2
votes
1answer
3k views

“…she had not been attending class” or “…she was not attending class”?

What is the difference between the following two sentences: Betty failed the final test because she had not been attending class. Betty failed the final test because she was not attending ...
2
votes
4answers
213 views

Can the use of the Past (Simple, Continuous) be ever considered correct with “in/for the past few+time”

I know that it's a norm to use Present Perfect (Continuous) with "in/for the past few + time" I have been staying with my parents for the last few days. I have learnt a lot of new words in the last ...
2
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1answer
1k views

why “was” is used in Perfect past tense?

I have query that i have seen many sentences that uses Past Participle after "was". But i am little bit confused with Past continuous and Past perfect Tense. Can anyone tell me the difference?
2
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2answers
39 views

Before the party: Question about the past perfect continuous tense

I am trying to understand better the correct way to use the past perfect continuous tense. In particular, what is the difference between: Before the party, he had been telling everyone how happy he ...
2
votes
2answers
163 views

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 ...
2
votes
3answers
162 views

Past continuous use for something that's accomplished

The girl said, "Oh I thought Danny was giving me his scarf because it was so special, but he gave me it because he doesn't support United any more!" Why past continuous here? Is it because it is a ...
2
votes
1answer
51 views

“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 ...
2
votes
1answer
46 views

UFO attacks in Past Continuous

The question is about the sentence used in the "story" about the UFO;) Please let me know which is grammatically ok: When I was thinking then what might happen when they land, suddenly, to my great ...
2
votes
2answers
42 views

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 ...
2
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1answer
30 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?
2
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1answer
80 views

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 ...
2
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1answer
103 views

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?
2
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1answer
59 views

Past Continuous and past perfect continuous for native English speakers

According to Martin Hewing's Advanced English Grammar: The difference between past continuous and past perfect continuous is as follows: When we met Simon and Pat, they had been riding.(=we met ...
2
votes
1answer
135 views

Past Continuous vs Past Simple

Is the sentence "He repaired his car the whole day" grammatical or not? Can Past Simple (He repaired) be used with the whole day instead of Past Continuous (He was repairing)? And if both ...
2
votes
1answer
88 views

Why use past continuous where there is no obvious interruption

I am studying past simple and past continuous and then encountered an exercise(filling the blank with the words in parentheses in correct tense) as below: Last night, while I was doing my homework, ...