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Friday, 8 July 2022

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MEANINGS AND USES OF PAST CONTINUOUS TENSE 

(1) It is used to talk about something which continued to happen before and after a particular time in the past.

Examples of sentences:

• We were sitting in the kitchen, when they heard the explosion.

• Guest of Honour arrived while the children were singing.

 

(2) Past Continuous is often used to refer to a temporary situation.

Examples of sentences: 

• He was working at home at the time.

• My Secretary was using my office until I came back from Mwanza.

 

(3) Past continuous is used for actions that continued to happen before and after another action, or before and after a particular time. This is often called the 'interrupted past'. You use the past simple for the other action.

Examples of sentences: 

• He was watching television when the doorbell rang.

• We were still waiting for the bus, when the rain started.

 

(4) Past continuous tense is used to show that something is changing, developing, or progressing.

Examples of sentences: 

• Her English was improving.

• The children were growing up quickly.

 

(5) Past continuous is used to talk about a temporary state of affairs in the past.

Examples of sentences: 

• Our team were losing 2-1 at the time.

• It was midnight and she was driving home.

 

(6) When we talk about the future from a point of view in the past, we use 'would', 'was', 'were going to', or the past continuous.

Examples of sentences: 

• He thought to himself how wonderful it would taste.

• Her daughter was going to do the cooking.

• Mike was taking his test the week after.

 

4 BEST WAYS TO UNDERSTAND PAST CONTINUOUS TENSE IN ENGLISH

(RULES AND EXAMPLES) 

The past continuous statements and questions describe something that began in the past and continued to occur for a time before stopping.

Sentence structure: Subject + verb to be in past form + verb in -ing form:

A. Positive sentences 

Sentence structure: Subject + verb to be in past form + verb in -ing form:

Examples of sentences: 

• I was washing my clothes

• She was cooking ugali

• They were playing football

 

B. Negative sentences  

Sentence structure: Subject + verb to be in past form + not + -ing form:

Examples of sentences:

• I was not washing my clothes

• She was not cooking ugali

• They were not playing football

 

C. Interrogative sentences

Sentence structure: Verb to be + subject + present participle form:

Examples of sentences:

Was I washing my clothes?

Was she cooking ugali?

Were they playing football?

 

D. Negative Interrogative sentences

Sentence structure: Verb to be + not (or its short form) + subject + present participle form + Question mark (?):

Examples of sentences:

• Wasn't I washing my clothes?

• Wasn't she cooking ugali?

• Weren't they playing football?


Note: The sentences can also be expressed by using concessions like 'when, while, since, and for'. Examples:

• I was washing clothes while Juma was watering flowers.

When we knocked the door, Asha was cooking food.

See Also:

ENGLISH STRUCTURE QUESTIONS:

[1] Academic Words Questions 1 - 50

[2] Academic Words Answers 1 - 50

[3] Adjective Questions 1 – 50

[4] Adjective Answers 1 - 50

[5] Adjective Questions 51 – 100

[6] Adjective Answers 51 - 100

[7] Adverbs Questions 1 – 50

[8] Adverb Answers 1 – 50

[9] Article Questions 1 - 50

[10] Article Answers 1 – 50

[11] Conjunction Questions 1 – 50

[12] Conjunction Answers 1 – 50

[13] Vocabulary Questions 1 - 50

[14] Vocabulary Answers 1 - 50

[15] Vocabulary Questions 51 - 100

[16] Vocabulary Answers 51 - 100

[17]  English Grammar questions

[18] 51-100 General Grammar Questions

[19] 51-100 General Grammar Answers

[20] 1-50 General Concessions Questions

[21] 1-50 General Concessions Answers

[22] 1-50 General Sentence Structure Questions

[23] 1-50 General Sentence Structure Answers

[24] 1-50 General Tense Questions

[25] 1-50 General Tense Answers

[26] 1-50 General Literature Questions

[27] 1-50 General Literature Answers

[28] 1-50 General Grammar Questions

[29] 1-50 General Grammar Answers

 

 

Related Articles:

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Summons

Selected Poems

Passed Like a Shadow

Unanswered Cries

Black Hermit

The Lion and the Jewel

-This Time Tomorrow

"A Comprehensive Handbook for Ordinary Level Literature" book (PDF)

"A Comprehensive Handbook for Ordinary Level Literature in English" book (PDF)

 

For copies of these books,

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