How do we make the past continuous tense


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How do we make the past continuous tense

  1. 1. How do we make the Past Continuous Tense?<br />The structure of the past continuous tense is:<br />subject+auxiliary verb BE+main verbconjugated in simple past tensepresent participlewaswerebase + ing<br />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:<br /> subjectauxiliary verbmain verb +Iwas watchingTV.+Youwere workinghard.-He, she, itwasnothelpingMary.-Wewerenotjoking. ?Wereyou beingsilly??Werethey playingfootball?<br />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.<br />At 8pm yesterday, I was watching TV.pastpresentfuture8pmAt 8pm, I was in the middle of watching TV.  <br />When we use the past continuous tense, our listener usually knows or understands what time we are talking about. Look at these examples:<br />I was working at 10pm last night.<br />They were not playing football at 9am this morning.<br />What were you doing at 10pm last night?<br />What were you doing when he arrived?<br />She was cooking when I telephoned her.<br />We were having dinner when it started to rain.<br />Ram went home early because it was snowing.<br />Verb Meanings with Continuous Tenses : There are some verbs that we do not normally use in the continuous tense. And there are other verbs that we use in the simple tense with one meaning and in the continuous tense with another meaning.<br />In this lesson we look at various uses of continuous tenses, followed by a quiz to check your understanding:<br />Verbs not Used with Continuous Tenses: There are some verbs that we do not normally use with continuous tenses. We usually use the following verbs with simple tenses only (not continuous tenses):<br />hate, like, love, need, prefer, want, wish<br />believe, imagine, know, mean, realize, recognize, remember, suppose, understand<br />belong, concern, consist, contain, depend, involve, matter, need, owe, own, possess<br />appear, resemble, seem,<br />hear, see<br />Here are some examples:<br />I want a coffee.not I am wanting a coffee.I don't believe you are right.not I am not believing you are right.Does this pen belong to you?not Is this pen belonging to you?It seemed wrong.not It was seeming wrong.I don't hear anything.not I am not hearing anything.<br />Notice that we often use can + see/hear:<br />I can see someone in the distance.(not I am seeing someone in the distance.)<br />I can't hear you very well.(not I am not hearing you very well.)<br />TIP<br />With verbs that we don't use in the continuous tense, there is no real action or activity. Compare "to hear" and "to listen". "To hear" means "to receive sound in your ears". There is no real action or activity by you. We use "to hear" with simple tenses only. But "to listen" means "to try to hear". You make an effort to hear. There is a kind of action or activity. We can use "to listen" with simple or continuous tenses.<br />Verbs with Two Meanings: Some verbs have two different meanings or senses. For one sense we must use a simple tense. For the other sense we can use a continuous or simple tense. For example, the verb to think has two different senses:<br />to believe, to have an opinionI think red is a sexy colour.<br />to reflect, to use your brain to solve a problemI am thinking about my homework.<br />In sense 1 there is no real action, no activity. This sense is called "stative". In sense 2 there is a kind of action, a kind of activity. This sense is called "dynamic". When we use the stative sense, we use a simple tense. When we use the dynamic sense, we can use a simple or continuous tense, depending on the situation. Look at the examples in the table below:<br />Stative sense(no real action)Dynamic sense(a kind of action)Simple onlyContinuousSimpleI think she is beautiful.Be quiet. I'm thinking.I will think about this problem tomorrow.I don't consider that he is the right man for the job.We are considering your job application and will give you our answer in a few days.We consider every job application very carefully.This table measures 4 x 6 feet.She is measuring the room for a new carpet.A good carpentermeasures his wood carefully.Does the wine tastegood?I was tasting the wine when I dropped the glass.I always taste wine before I drink it.Mary has three children.Please phone later. We are having dinner now.We have dinner at 8pm every day.<br /> <br />If you have a doubt about a particular verb, ask yourself the question: "Is there any real action or activity?"<br />Be and Continuous Tenses<br />The verb be can be an auxiliary verb (Marie is learning English) or a main verb (Marie is French). On this page we look at the verb be as a main verb.<br />Usually we use simple tenses with the verb be as a main verb. For example, we say:<br />London is the capital of the UK.(not London is being the capital of the UK.)<br />Is she beautiful?(not Is she being beautiful?)<br />Were you late?(not Were you being late?)<br />Sometimes, however, we can use the verb be with a continuous tense. This is when the real sense of the verb be is "act" or "behave". Also, of course, the action is temporary. Compare the examples in the table below:<br />Mary is a careful person. (Mary is always careful - it's her nature.)John is being careful. (John is acting carefully now, but maybe he is not always careful - we don't know.)Is he always so stupid? (Is that his personality?)They were being really stupid. (They were behaving really stupidly at that moment.)Andrew is not usually selfish. (It is not Andrew's character to be selfish.)Why is he being so selfish? (Why is he acting so selfishly at the moment?)<br />Notice that we also make a difference between "to be sick" and "to be being sick":<br />She is sick (= she is not well)<br />She is being sick (= she is vomiting)<br />Here is the structure of the verb be in the continuous present tense:I am beingYou are beingHe, she, it is beingWe are beingThey are being<br />1. I ……………what my teacher said (do not believe /am not believing)<br />2. I…… the bus just down the road.(am seeing / seeing)<br />3. Mariam …. this Math homework is easy.(thinks / is thinking)<br />4. The baby …. 21 inches long. (is measuring / measures)<br />5. Please be quiet. I……………. (am listening / listen)<br />6. Does your dinner ….. Delicious? (is tasting / taste )<br />7. Why……….so selfish about this? (are you being / are you )<br />8. Was he on time or was he ….. (being late / late )<br />9. She is……… with a cold.( sick / being sick)<br />10. Is she always……..with children? (Being so patient / so patient)<br />