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 or past simple

At the dentist's: I was on time for my dentist's appointment, but the dentist was still busy with another patient, so I sat in the waiting room and read some of the old magazines lying there. All ...
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50 views

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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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 ...
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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"
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42 views

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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950 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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2answers
861 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
1k views

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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168 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 ...
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3answers
233 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 ...
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103 views

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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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 ...
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32 views

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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39 views

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
463 views

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
152 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" ...
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1answer
480 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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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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146 views

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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49 views

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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1answer
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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 ...
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1answer
60 views

difference between past continuous and simple past in this case

I have another question about the use of the past continuous and simple past. These are both examples from grammar books, and I want to know why in the first example, the past continuous is used, and ...
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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. ...
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650 views

“Two years ago I studied/was working…” – difference in meaning

I would really like to know the difference between these two sentences: Two years ago I was working in New York. Two years ago I studied English in England. The way I interpret them: ...
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1answer
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Did vs was doing vs had done vs had been doing

I worked a teacher before but now I work a translator. What would be the slight difference if, instead of worked, we say was working, had worked, had been working? What does each tense mean and ...
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1answer
142 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 ...
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62 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 ...
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62 views

Past SImple vs Past Continuous

While practising past tenses I have encountered a couple of confusing dialogues. A: How was your holiday? B: Awful! It __________ (rain) the whole time. The key says that the right answer is ...
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61 views

Can the past perfect be replaced by the past continuous in this case?

Someone in the news died today and the following line was used: He had been suffering from ill health throughout 2017. Is it possible to say he was suffering from ill health throughout 2017?
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804 views

He was working or worked for my father in the 1990s

Tom, who was working for my father in the 1990s, is now living in Ohio. Is it correct or should it be in Past Simple? I think it is correct because it is an action which was in progress in the past ...
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2answers
3k views

The baby was sleeping or slept?

I'm having a misunderstanding regarding Past Simple and Past Prog. The baby was sleeping peacefully through the night. or The baby slept peacefully through the night. Are both work? If not, ...
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1answer
83 views

Past progressive and past simple with while

I have a confusion regarding this Grammar rule, it's all about these two examples. I'm totally confused not because it's hard, but because the two answers are supposed to be the same, but they are ...
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1answer
122 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 ...
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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 ...
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258 views

Why did the translator of Kafka's book “metamorphosis” choose past simple in the beginning of “the metamorphosis”?

As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect. He was lying on his hard, as it were armor-plated, back and when he lifted his head ...
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503 views

Past progressive or past simple with still

He believed that the modern inhabitants still kept/were still keeping themselves apart from the rest of mankind for the very same reason. I chose were still keeping because of still, because if you ...
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6k views

Is it possible to use simple past with “During the last week”?

I wanted to write a sentence about last/past week and I have doubts A1) During the last week I arrived home at 7 A2) During the last week I was arriving at 7 B1) During the past week I ...
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Is the answer optional (Past Simple vs Past Continious)?

I have the sentence. But she needn't have worried because on the day of the wedding (look) very nice indeed. "Looked" shows a finished period in the past and the result has no connection with the ...
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2k views

past or past continuous with exact time period

They were playing(play) football yesterday from 13:00 to 15:00. They played(play) football yesterday from 13:00 to 15:00. At 8.30am today I was driving(drive) to work. At 8.30am today I drove(drive)...
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485 views

past simple vs past continuous (Interrupted event)?

What's wrong with this sentence ? Last night ,I was being a little sleepy when my friends called me ! according to this article : FUNCTIONS OF THE PAST CONTINUOUS to describe an unfinished action ...
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451 views

Expression “keep [verb]ing” in past continuous

Let us take the following sentence: You keep saying that I'm too young! What is the grammatical equivalent in the past continuous? Given that "keep" is a verb, it should be okay to conjugate it, ...
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Present perfect continuous and past continuous

A:"This lesson was so boring, the teacher has been talking/was talking all the time. B: "How would you know, you have been sleeping/were sleeping all the time". If the lesson had just finished and ...
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47 views

Past simple or countinuous

In this example: "Being students, they didn't have much money and they worked as waiters at weekends" We can use in this example only "didn't have" because in this case it means "Possession", right? ...
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Are these sentences completely different in terms of context or just matter of choice?

Sentences: To me, they convey the same context (process was interrupted by some event but 1st shows us sequence of events while 2nd shows just inevitable fact of interruption of the process) I had ...
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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 ...
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2answers
210 views

Past Indefinite or Past Continuous?

I have a simple at first sight question, but it seems confusing for some of my collegues. There is the sentence, where we need to insert Past Simple or Past Continuous, please help to fill these gaps ...
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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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135 views

simple past continuous combined with “for”

I am going to make up three sentences below. (1) Three weeks ago, I was writing a short essay for five days. (2) John was scoring a lot of goals for many years. (3) During Tim's one-week stay in my ...
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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 ...
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278 views

imperfective vs perfective in English (I was doing/ I did)?

I tend to use the continuous form a lot for situations that happened in the near past as it brings my mind closer to the actual action that was performed. I'm still not sure if this is grammatically ...