Past Continuous | Ongoing Past Activity

Jane is being questioned by a police officer who thinks she may be involved in a crime.

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.

Grammar Notes

Point 1: When an activity is a scheduled event that is open information to many people, we use the present simple even when talking about the future. Events like work schedules, bus times and movie times are common examples.
  1. The movie starts at three.
  2. My plane departs at noon and arrives at five.
Point 2: When talking about scheduled events, we often talk about starting times with the negative construction 'not ... until'
  1. The bus does not leave until 5 o'clock.
  2. My vacation does not start until July.
Point 3: We often use the verb 'end' to talk about when something finishes.
  1. The movie ends at ten.
  2. My shift at work does not end until midnight.
Point 4: Be careful to use the third person singular when necessary.
  1. The movie starts at 7. (It starts at 7)
  2. The game doesn't begin until noon. (It doesn't begin until noon.)
Answer these questions about the interview.

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Vocabulary Challenge

Grammar Practice
Complete the gaps with the words listed below. You need to change the verb to the correct form.
be play • be talk • be run
be rain • be have
  1. I breakfast at six this morning.
  2. I tennis all morning.
  3. She in the marathon this time last week.
  4. They all through the movie.
  5. It all day yesterday.