Past continous The past continuous is formed from the past tense of be with the -ing form of the verb: We use the past continuous to talk about the past: . for something which continued before and after another action: The children were doing their homework when Igot home. Compare: . I got home. The children did their homework. and The children did their homework when I got home. As I was watching television the telephone rang
This use of the past continuous is very common at the beginning of a story: . The other day I was waiting for a bus when Last week as I was driving to work...
for something that happened before and after a particular time: It was eight o'clock. I was writing a letter. At eight o'clock I wrote some letters In July she was working in McDonald's. . .to show that something continued for some time: . My head was aching Everyone was shouting.
.for something that was happening again and again: l was practising every day, three times a day. They were meeting secretly after school. They were always quarrelling. with verbs which show change or growth: The children were growing up quickly. Her English was improving. My hair was going grey. The town was changing quickly.
Past perfect We use the verb had and the past participle for the past perfect: . I had finished the work. She had gone The past perfect continuous is formed with had been and the -ing form of the verb: I had been finishing the work She had been going
. The past perfect is used in the same way as the present perfect, but it refers to a time in the past, not the present. We use the past perfect tense: for something that started in the past and continued up to a given time in the past: .When George died he and Anne had been married for nearly fifty years. She didn't want to move. She had lived in Liverpool all her life. We normally use the past perfect continuous for this: .She didn't want to move. She had been living in Liverpool all her life. Everything was wet. It had been raining for hours.