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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27 views

“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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3answers
87 views

past simple and continuous

"Nero played music while Rome was burning." I just copied it from one English workbook for primary school. If it was watched, saw... I would take it as correct. This really bothers me, I ...
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1answer
63 views

Correctly conecting two actions (Gerund)?

I want to say that someone put her baby to sleep and was reading her book while she was sitting in the sitting room. The Continuous can't be followed by the Gerund. So, I can't say: His wife, who ...
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55 views

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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1answer
43 views

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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1k views

What should I use (Past perfect or Past Simple)

I have the following sentences. And must choose on of the tences (Past Simple, Past Perfect, Past Continuos, Past Perfect Continuos): Sally Deedes was walking home late one night. She (be) to a ...
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1answer
79 views

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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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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3answers
250 views

Is it gramatically correct to ask “what were you doing this summer?”

I was asked few times on my English classes "what were you doing this summer?". And now I'm wondering if it's correct to ask that question like that? As far as I know Past Continuous is used ...
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1answer
47 views

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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1answer
79 views

Past simple or past continuous?

1 Being students, they didn't have much money and they usually worked as waiters at weekends. Why do we need to use the past simple? 2 While they were studying, they were working as waiters at ...
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1answer
34 views

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?
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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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671 views

past habits with adverbs 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.
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2answers
57 views

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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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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1answer
85 views

The difference between Past Simple vs Past Continuous vs Used to & every day

Which tense should I use if I was on holidays which lasted 2 weeks and during that time I rode a bike every day? It was a great time because I rode a bike every day. It was a great time ...
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1answer
54 views

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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28 views

worked vs was working [duplicate]

Are these examples interchangeable or it's better to use the second one if we say "he was living in Seattle", because there is emphasis of temporary action? Tom worked in a hotel when he ...
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75 views

didn't pay attention vs wasn't paying attention

As I understand, following sentences have the same meaning, haven't they? There is only a small difference that the first one says about the fact (I didn’t pay attention), but the second one says ...
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1answer
33 views

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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1answer
22 views

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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2answers
713 views

Is the word “carry” in “had been carrying a precious cargo” a state verb or action verb?

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 ...
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1answer
542 views

“I worked the whole day yesterday” vs “I was working the whole day yesterday”

Could you tell me if there is any difference in meaning between the following sentences? I wasn't at Julie's birthday, because I worked the whole day yesterday. I wasn't at Julie's birthday, because ...
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1answer
47 views

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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1answer
43 views

Past simple or past progressive for a duration [duplicate]

is it possible to write I heard some strange noises for the past two days after waking up and it scared me. I am glad I have not heard them today I was hearing some strange noises for the past ...
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22 views

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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4answers
99 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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Questions regarding the differences between simple and progressive past

I have a few sentences in which I don't know which tense to use. In the first sentence, I want to describe how a zoom meeting ended, but everybody stayed. So should I say: I saw that everybody was ...
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1answer
54 views

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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3answers
3k views

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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1answer
23 views

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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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. The question Simple past vs past ...
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1answer
105 views

“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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Past perfect continuous for continuing events in the past

My Cambridge Dictionary's grammar section contains the following explanation about the past perfect continuous tense: Continuing events in the past We use the past perfect continuous to talk about ...
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1answer
53 views

Is past perfect continuous mandatory when you mention the duration of an action in reported speech?

He said "I have been working in the garden for 8 hours" - direct speech. He said that he had been working in the garden for 8 hours. - indirect speech Is "He said that he was working in ...
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2answers
47 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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2answers
38 views

Can the past perfect continuous be substituted with the past continuous?

If I want to emphasize both the process and duration of some action or event which was before another one, I should opt out for the past perfect continuous tense: "I had been studying for 3 hours ...
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1answer
13 views

Is it correct here to say that “…more was to come”

The following is a paragraph of the NY Times news: It was not clear whether the action was the totality of the Iranian response to the killing of the scientist …, or whether more was to come. Is the ...
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1answer
36 views

Is the past perfect continuous really necessary?

I've come across the following sentences in one grammar book. I wonder if it's really necessary to use the past perfect continuous in them? The original sentences: It had been raining for several ...
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1answer
38 views

Can I use the conjunction “before” with the main clause in the past perfect continuous or the past continuous? And which is best?

My textbooks suggest that the only correct option is the one in the past perfect continuous because the past perfect continuous means an action ("planning") which lasted up to the later ...
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1answer
113 views

“If they came” versus “If they were coming” versus “If they would come”

I was wondering if there is a big difference in the meaning of these three questions? You asked me if they came or not? You asked me if they were coming or not? You asked me if they would come or ...
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1answer
29 views

How to say it correctly? “I was sailing [..]” or “I sailed [..]”

How to say the following correctly? Last Voyage I was sailing on board of container ship or Last voyage I sailed on board of the container ship and please explain why is your option right. For ...
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1answer
38 views

The Past Continuous vs. the Past Perfect Continuous in context

Could you tell me if there is any difference in meaning between the following sentences? When I got into the movie industry, I was waiting tables for seven years. When I got into the movie industry, ...
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118 views

“we left the house that day” or “we were leaving the house that day”

Which of these are correct? It was cold when we left the house that day, and a light snow was falling. It was cold when we were leaving the house that day, and a light snow was falling.
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78 views

“I was working for a long time before…” vs. “I had been working for a long time before…”

Could you tell me if there is any difference in meaning between I was working for a long time before... and I had been working for a long time before...? For example: I was working for a long time ...
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14 views

What is wrong in

Question: Does the following sentence use the correct verbs? Yesterday, I was being hungry, so I bought food. Answer: The first verb should not be progressive. I don't understand the error. If I say I ...
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2answers
2k views

“What were you doing at 7 o'clock yesterday?” vs “What did you do at 7 o'clock yesterday?”

As far as I see, both forms of question "What were you doing at 7 o'clock yesterday?" and "What did you do at 7 o'clock yesterday?" could be used to ask about someone's action in ...
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3answers
887 views

Difference between Went vs Was going

What is the correct alternative for the following sentence? When he lived in California, he____(went, was going to) to the cinema once a week.
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1answer
88 views

Past Continuous with yesterday

I am trying to figure out if it's possible to use past continuous without specific time or interruption while talking about yesterday. Here's the situation: I want to tell my friend how I spent my day ...

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