Grammar 5-14 | Intermediate | CEFR B2

Past Continuous

Listen to a conversation with a police officer using the past continuous.

Jane: Hello.

Police Officer: Hello Miss. I don't mean to bother you, but can I just ask you a few questions?

Jane: Sure.

Police officer: Yeah, there was a crime committed last night so we've been asking some of the locals . What were you doing at eight o’clock yesterday evening?

Jane: I was watching a movie.

Police officer: Hmm. What movie were you watching?

Jane: Twilight, the vampire movie.

Police officer: Really? What time was it playing?

Jane: I was watching it from 7 until 9. I was not robbing that old woman at 8 o’clock because I was watching the movie. Look, I watched the whole movie from start to finish.

Police officer: So, how do you know it was an old woman that got robbed?

Jane: Ahmm.

Past Continuous - Grammar Notes

Point 1: The past continuous uses the past tense BE verbs + present participle (ing)
  1. I was watching TV when he arrived.
  2. I was sleeping when cat woke me up.
  3. They were waiting when we got there.
  4. She was just telling me a joke.
Point 2: We often use time connectors (when, as, while) to show two actions happened at once.
  1. As I was eating, a strange man approached me.
  2. While I was living in Spain, I met my partner.
  3. The children were fighting when I got home.
  4. She was sleeping, so I tried to be quiet.
Point 3: We use the past continuous when a specific time is referenced in the past.
  1. What were you doing at six last night?
  2. I was eating dinner with my family.
  3. Where were you this morning?
  4. I was at home. I was helping my mother.
Point 4: We use the phrase "was just -ing" to show an action just happened related to the present.
  1. As I was just saying, you need to be more careful.
  2. You know, I was just thinking the same thing.
  3. He was just sitting here. Where is he now?
  4. We were just leaving.
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