Let’s now study a new verb tense: Past Continous. It is simple verb tense, similar to ones in Portuguese.
The Past Continuous is formed from the Past Tense of to be with the ing form of the verb. We use the Past Continuous to talk about the past:
- For something which continued before and after another action. Example:
The children were doing their homework when I got home.
(compare: I got home. The children did their homework. And The children did their homework when I got home.)
As I was watching television the telephone rang.
This use of the past continuous is very common at the beginning of a story:
The other day I was waiting for a bus when…
Last week as I was driving to work…
- For something that happened before and after a particular time:
It was eight o’clock. I was writing a letter
(compare: At eight o’clock I wrote some letters.)
In July she was working in McDonald’s.
- To show that something continued for some time:
My head was aching.
Everyone was shouting.
- For something that was happening again and again:
I was practicing every day, three times a day.
They were meeting secretly after school.
They were always quarreling.
- With verbs which show change or growth. Examples:
The children were growing up quickly.
Her English was improving.
My hair was going grey.
The town was changing quickly.