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The Past Continuous Tense.

The Past Continuous Tense Form: was / were + V-ing He was watching TV. Was he watching TV? – No, he wasn’t. He was not watching TV. They were playing chess. Were they playing chess? They were not playing chess. Usage:1. Действие, которое происходило в определенный момент или период времени в прошлом. At 7 o’clock yesterday I was watching TV. 2. Действия, которые происходят одновременно в прошлом. While he was playing the guitar, she was singing. 3. В сложных предложениях The Past Continuous употребляется для описания длительного действия, а the Past Simple - для описания краткого действия, которое прерывает длительное. When Tom called I was telling the story. Time expressions: when, while, all day/night, at …o’clock yesterday, from … till …, etc.


Exercise№1. Here is a list of some things that Helen did yesterday (and the times at which she did them):

8.45 – 9.15 had breakfast 9.15 – 10.00 read the newspaper 10.00 – 12.00 cleaned her flat 12.45 – 1.30 had lunch 2.30 – 3.30 washed some clothes 4.00 – 6.00 watched television


Now write sentences saying what she was doing at these times

At 9 o’clock she was having breakfast. At 9.30 she … At 11 o’clock … At 1 o’clock… At 3 o’clock … At 5 o’clock …


Exercise№2. Make affirmative or negative sentences saying what you and your relatives were doing at these times.

1. At this time yesterday – I / walk in the park

2. At 8 yesterday morning – my mother / make breakfast

3. At 1 o’clock yesterday – my friends / have classes at the University

4. At 9 o’clock last night - my Dad / watch the news program on TV

5. From 3 till 5 on Sunday – I / prepare homework

6. From 10 till 11 on Saturday – my Mum and I / clean the flat

7. At this time on Tuesday – I / play with my younger brother (sister)


Exercise№3. Choose the best way to complete the sentences. Say what tenses are used.

1. They were sleeping   2. I was skiing 3. I was cooking 4. She was feeding the dog 5. I was eating a carrot 6. We were driving to work 7. He was standing in the canoe 8. I was dreaming about my girlfriend a) when it turned over and we fell in the water. b) when I burnt my finger. c) when the doorbell rang. d) when a truck banged into my car. e) when he called me on the telephone. f) when it bit her hand. g) when I fell and broke my leg. h) when my tooth fell out.

Exercise№4. Open the brackets. Use the Past Simple tense or the Past Continuous.

1. Last night Carol (read) a story to Billy when he (fall) asleep.

2. When the storm (begin), Sue and Pete (drive) to New Jersey.

3. Tom (play) soccer when he (break) his arm.

4. Pete (shave) when he (cut) his chin.

5. When the accident (happen), it (snow).

6. What (you / do) at this time yesterday?

7. While we (dance), he (step) on my toe.

8. When it (start) to rain, Ann (play) tennis.

9. (you / watch) TV when I phoned you?

10. Norma (drive) to Brighton when a man (hit) her car.


Exercise№5. Put the verbs in brackets into the Past Simple or the Past Continuous. Then, say which uses of these tenses are shown in each extract.

A. Charlie Chaplin 1)...(become) one of the best-known personalities in America within two years of his first appearance in the cinema.

He 2)...(be) so famous that no studio could afford to pay him, so he 3)...(appear) only in films which he 4)...(produce) himself.


B. It 1)...(happen) at ten o’clock last night. John 2)...(sit) in his cosy living room with his wife and children. They 3)...(watch) the evening news on TV when suddenly, the lights 4)...(go out) and everything in the house 5)...(become) quiet.


C. The boys 1)...(play) football on the river bank while the girls 2)...(talk). Everyone 3)...(enjoy) the picnic when suddenly they 4)...(hear) a loud cry from further up the river. They all 5)...(run) to see what was wrong.


D. In prehistoric times, people 1)...(live) in caves. They 2)...(hunt) animals which they then 3)...(use) for food and clothing. They 4)...(make) everything by themselves and they 5)...(have) very simple lives.


Exercise№6. Work with a partner. Ask each other these questions.


A: Who was the last person to come to class today?

B: Tom.

A: What were you doing when Tom came in?

B: We were talking about the past progressive.

1. Who was the last person to come to class today?

2. What were you doing when this person came in?

3. Did you arrive before the teacher?

4. If so, what were you doing when the teacher came in?

5. Did you arrive after class began?

6. If so, what was the class doing when you came in?

7. What did you do when you entered the class?


Exercise№7. Work in two groups. The students in group A go to the front of the room. Each student acts out one of the activities in the box (or his or her own activity). The students in group B watch carefully and take notes about what each student is doing.

bow, play cards with a classmate, sweep the floor, comb your hair, play ping-pong, swim, dance, put on lipstick, tell smb. a secret, drink a cup of hot coffee, sew, walk a dog, sleep, write on the blackboard, ski


The students in group A sit down. They ask another group general and special questions about their activities. They use the Past Continuous.


Who was sweeping the floor?

What was Helen doing?

Was Andrew sleeping?


Then another group acts out activities and asks questions. The winner is the group which asks and answers questions without mistakes.

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