Past Progressive "was/were + -ing" + "when/while" (English Grammar)



Hi, everyone. Welcome to SandJ English. Sasha You came home late last night. What happened? I was driving home yesterday when I ran over broken glass and got a flat tire. Can you believe it? I was trying to call you while I was waiting for a towing service. Why didn’t you answer? What were you doing around 6 p.m.? Hmm What was I doing? Oh I was sleeping all day. Our today's topic is We use it to talk about long actions in the past that continued for a certain period of time. The past progressive is used to say that something was in progress around a particular past time. For example, "I was watching TV at 10 p.m. last night" I started watching TV at 8 p.m. and finished at 11. It means that at 10 p.m. I was watching TV. Watching TV is a long action. The past progressive is never used with short actions like wake up, start or buy. We often use the conjunctions “while” and “when” with the past progressive to connect two actions that happened in the past. These structures are useful also for story telling. Let’s look at how they are used. "while" is used in front of a long action. We can have two long actions in one sentence. The structure is: (long action) while (long action) With long actions we use the past progressive. For example, "I was listening to music while I was eating dinner" We can also use "while" in a sentence with one short action and one long action The structure is: (short action) while (long action) With short action we use the past simple With long action we use the past progressive. For example, "I got a flat tire while I was driving" "when" is used in front of short actions. The structure is: (long action) when (short action) Example "I was driving when I got a flat tire" Let’s have some more examples. Please listen and repeat. Let’s practice! – listen and repeat – Good practice, everyone. Hey You won’t believe what happened yesterday. Oh, I know. Mike walked into the toilet while you were using it. Jenny, I need your help. My computer crashed while I was working. What exactly were you doing when it crashed? I was writing a report and I moved the screen a little. Then it went blank. Here’s the problem. The power cord is unplugged. You shouldn’t have moved the computer while you were using it. See you next time.

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. I like the way you're teaching English , it's so close to real spoken English .I found it useful . 👍👍

  2. hi could you help me by answer me one question?
    could you explain why you used this sentence you shouldn't have moved…
    why its not be you shouldn't had moved because moved is in the past and had is mean past

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