Past Continuous

English Grammar - Past Continuous

"I was using my mobile phone while I was watching TV."

"She was calling him while he was studying."

The past continuous is used for actions which happen in the past and are interrupted by another action or a specific time as well as actions that take place at the same time. Indication words can be “while”, “at … o’ clock” and in some cases “when” (be careful: ”When” is also often used with the simple past.) Just like the present continuous the past continuous doesn’t exist in German but can also be indicated by words like “just” or “now”.

Formation:

subject + simple past of “be” (was/were) (+ not) + infinite verb + “- ing”

Examples:

  • I was watching TV when she called me.
  • He was listening to music so didn’t hear the fire alarm.
  • Yesterday at this time you weren’t working.
  • We were studying while he was making dinner. -> If the verb ends on “- e”, it has to be removed as soon as you add “- ing” as a suffix.

 

Formation of questions:

(question word +) simple past of “be” (+ not) + subject + infinite verb + “- ing”

Examples:

  • What were you doing while I was working?
  • Were you walking the dog yesterday at 6 o’ clock? – Yes, I was./No, I wasn’t.

Das Past Continuous wird für Handlungen verwendet, die in der Vergangenheit passieren und von einer anderen Handlung oder einen speziellen Zeitpunkt unterbrochen werden sowie für Handlungen, die gleichzeitig stattfinden. Signalwörter können “während”, “um … Uhr” und in manchen Fällen “als” sein (Vorsicht: “Als” wird auch oft im Simple Past verwendet). Wie das Present Continuous, existiert auch das Past Continuous nicht im Deutschen, kann aber ebenso im Deutschen durch Wörter wie “gerade” signalisiert werden.

Bildung:

Subjekt + einfache Vergangenheitsform von “be” (was/were) + Verb + “- ing”

Beispiele:

  • I was watching TV when she called me. (Ich habe ferngesehen als sie mich angerufen hat.)
  • He was listening to music so he didn’t hear the fire alarm. (Er hat gerade Musik gehört, wehalb er den Feueralarm nicht gehört hat.)
  • Yesterday at this time you were working. (Gestern um diese Zeit hast du gearbeitet.)
  • We were studying while he was making dinner. (Wir haben gelernt, während er Abendessen gemacht hat.) -> Wenn das Verb auf “- e” endet, muss dieses entfernt werden sobald “- ing”als Suffix hinzugefügt wird.

 

Bildung von Fragen:

(Fragewort +) einfache Vergangenheitsform von “be” + Subjekt + Verb + “- ing”

Beispiele:

  • What were you doing while I was working? (Was hast du getan während ich gearbeitet habe?)
  • Were you walking the dog yesterday at 6 o’ clock? – Yes, I was./No, I wasn’t.(Warst du gestern um 6 Uhr mit dem Hund spazieren? – Ja, war ich./Nein, war ich nicht.)

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