PRACTICE USING ‘WHEN’ AND ‘WHILE’ IN PAST CONTINUOUS TENSE

PRACTICE WHEN AND WHILE IN PAST CONTINUOUS

The aim of this lesson is to understand correct use of the past continuous tense.

There are some important things which you must keep in mind:

  1. The continuous tense of a verb uses –ing ending and is the same in present, past or future
  2. You should know the past simple of the verb
  3. Continuous tense refers to an action which is not yet completed
  4. The past continuous is usually written in a tense with a phrase in the past tense where the action has been completed
  5. The conjunctions ‘when’ and ‘while’ are commonly used to connect the past continuous with the past simple in a sentence.

Consider the following example sentences and their variations.

EXAMPLE 1

  1. Jack was reading a book when the telephone rang
  2. The telephone rang WHILE Jack was reading a book
  3. While Jack was reading a book, the telephone rang
  4. When the telephone rang, Jack was reading a book (incorrect)
  5. When Jack was reading a book, the telephone rang (incorrect)
  6. Jack read a book (when or while) the telephone rang (incorrect

EXAMPLE 2

  1. I was walking across the road when I witnessed an accident
  2. I witnessed an accident WHILE I was walking across the road
  3. WHILE I was walking across the road, I witnessed an accident
  4. WHEN I witnessed an accident, I was walking across the road (incorrect)
  5. WHEN I was walking across the road, I witnessed an accident (incorrect)

EXAMPLE 3

  1. Simon fell asleep WHILE he was reading a book
  2. Simon was reading a book when he fell asleep
  3. WHILE Simon was reading a book, he fell asleep
  4. WHILE Simon was falling asleep, he read a book (incorrect)
  5. While Simon was falling asleep, he was reading a book (incorrect)
  6. When Simon fell asleep, he was reading a book (incorrect)

EXAMPLE 4

  1. I was feeling unwell when I woke up this morning
  2. When I woke up this morning, I was feeling unwell
  3. I felt unwell when I was waking up this morning (incorrect)
  4. While I was waking up this morning, I felt unwell (incorrect)
  5. I felt unwell while I was waking up this morning (incorrect)

EXAMPLE 5

  1. It was raining when I looked out of the window
  2. It was raining while I looked out of the window (incorrect)
  3. When I looked out of the window, it was raining
  4. While I looked out of the window, it was raining (incorrect)
  5. I rained while I was looking out of the window
  6. While I was looking out of the window, it rained

EXAMPLE 6

  1. Until I got your message, I was going to meet you
  2. I was going to meet you until I got your message
  3. I was going to meet you WHEN I got your message
  4. WHEN I got your message, I was travelling to meet you
  5. I met you while getting your message
  6. While getting your message, I met you (incorrect)

EXAMPLE 7

  1. My friend was singing while I listened
  2. While I listened, my friend was singing
  3. My friend sang while I was listening (incorrect)
  4. While I was listening, my friend sang (incorrect)

EXAMPLE 8

  1. I hurt my leg when I was playing football
  2. I was hurting my leg when I played football (incorrect)
  3. I hurt my leg while playing football
  4. While playing football, I hurt my leg
  5. When I was playing football, I hurt my leg (incorrect)

 

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