Past Continuous Tense

UNIT VI
PAST CONTINUOUS TENSE
(Bentuk lampau sedang berlangsung)
A.    Penggunaan
  1. Untuk menyatakan suatu peristiwa yang sedang berlangsung pada waktu lampau.
  2. Untuk menyatakan suatu peristiwa yang sedang berlangsung dimana ada peristiwa lain terjadi, pada waktu lampau.
  3. Untuk menerangkan peristiwa yang sedang terjadi, secara bersamaan dengan peristiwa lain di waktu lampau.
B.     Keterangan waktu
Keterangan waktu untuk Past Continuous Tense antara lain :
-          … when          :  ketika
-          while               :  sementara
-          … as                :  ketika
-          the whole day yesterday
-          all day yesterday
-          all (morning, night)
C.    Susunan kalimat
  1. Positive (+) : Subject + was/were + V-ing
Subject
be 2
Verb I + ing
Object
I
was
writing
a story
You
We
They
were
buying
cleaning
playing
a shirt
the room
tennis
He
She
It
was
going
giving
swimming
to school
a present
very fast
  1. Negative (-) : Subject + was/were + not + Ving
Subject
be 2
not
Verb I + ing
Object
I
was
not
writing
a story
You
We
They
were
buying
cleaning
playing
a shirt
the room
tennis
He
She
It
was
going
giving
swimming
to school
a present
very fast
  1. Interrogative (?)
Was/were + Subject + verb ing ?
Was/ Were
Subject
Verb I + ing
Object
Was
I
writing
a story?
Were
You
We
They
buying
cleaning
playing
a shirt?
the room?
tennis?
Was
He
She
It
going
giving
swimming
to school?
a present?
very fast?

Past Continuous Tense

I was singing
The past continuous tense is an important tense in English. We use it to say what we were in the middle of doing at a particular moment in the past.

How do we make the Past Continuous Tense?

The structure of the past continuous tense is:
subject + auxiliary verb BE + main verb

conjugated in simple past tense
present participle
was
were
base + ing
For negative sentences in the past continuous tense, we insert not between the auxiliary verb and main verb. For question sentences, we exchange the subject and auxiliary verb. Look at these example sentences with the past continuous tense:

subject auxiliary verb
main verb
+ I was
watching TV.
+ You were
working hard.
- He, she, it was not helping Mary.
- We were not joking.
? Were you
being silly?
? Were they
playing football?

How do we use the Past Continuous Tense?

The past continuous tense expresses action at a particular moment in the past. The action started before that moment but has not finished at that moment. For example, yesterday I watched a film on TV. The film started at 7pm and finished at 9pm.
At 8pm yesterday, I was watching TV.
past present future

8pm
At 8pm, I was in the middle of watching TV.

When we use the past continuous tense, our listener usually knows or understands what time we are talking about. Look at these examples:
  • I was working at 10pm last night.
  • They were not playing football at 9am this morning.
  • What were you doing at 10pm last night?
  • What were you doing when he arrived?
  • She was cooking when I telephoned her.
  • We were having dinner when it started to rain.
  • Ram went home early because it was snowing.
Some verbs cannot be used in continuous/progressive tenses.
We often use the past continuous tense to "set the scene" in stories. We use it to describe the background situation at the moment when the action begins. Often, the story starts with the past continuous tense and then moves into the simple past tense. Here is an example:
" James Bond was driving through town. It was raining. The wind was blowing hard. Nobody was walking in the streets. Suddenly, Bond saw the killer in a telephone box..."

Past Continuous Tense + Simple Past Tense

We often use the past continuous tense with the simple past tense. We use the past continuous tense to express a long action. And we use the simple past tense to express a short action that happens in the middle of the long action. We can join the two ideas with when or while.
In the following example, we have two actions:
  1. long action (watching TV), expressed with past continuous tense
  2. short action (telephoned), expressed with simple past tense
past present future
Long action.

I was watching TV at 8pm.

8pm



You telephoned at 8pm.
Short action.

We can join these two actions with when:
  • I was watching TV when you telephoned.
(Notice that "when you telephoned" is also a way of defining the time [8pm].)
We use:
  • when + short action (simple past tense)
  • while + long action (past continuous tense)
There are four basic combinations:

I was walking past the car when it exploded.
When the car exploded
I was walking past it.

The car exploded while I was walking past it.
While I was walking past the car
it exploded.
Notice that the long action and short action are relative.
  • "Watching TV" took a few hours. "Telephoned" took a few seconds.
  • "Walking past the car" took a few seconds. "Exploded" took a few milliseconds.

We use the past continuous tense to describe a past action over a period of time.

Past Continuous Timeline

For example:
Q) "What were they doing yesterday?" A) "They were working all day."
It can be used to describe what someone was doing at a particular point in time.
For example:
Q) "What were you doing at 7.30 last night?" A) "I was watching television."
The past continuous can also be used to show that an activity frequently took place over a period of time.
Q) "What did you do on holiday?" A) "I went skiing a lot."
Often the past continuous is mixed with the past simple to show what was happening when something happened. The past continuous refers to the longer event and the simple past to the event that interrupted it.
For example:
"I was driving to work when I crashed my car."
or
As I was driving to work, I crashed my car."

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