woman walking, bathroom, cooking

Read the sentences below.

We were walking in the park when it started to rain.
I was taking a shower when you called.
She cut her finger when she was making dinner.

What do these sentences have in common?
A. They take place in the future
B. They contain two actions.
C. One action interrupts the other.

Both B and C are correct.

past-continuous-1

Which happened first? - The simple past action happens second / interrupts the past continuous action.

It was raining when I walked in the park.

  • 1st action -> raining
  • 2nd action -> walked

I was walking in the park when it rained.

  • 1st action -> walking
  • 2nd action -> rained

I was walking in the park while it was raining.

  • The order is unknown or not important when two past continuous verbs are used.

Formation - BE + VERB-ing

  • I / He / She / It + WAS
    • I was walking.
    • I was not walking. (was not = wasn't)
    • Was I walking?
    • Where was I walking?[1]
  • You / We / They + WERE
    • You were walking.
    • You were not walking. (were not = weren't
    • Were you walking?
    • Where were you walking?

Practice

  1. I talking on the phone when I crashed the car. (+)
  2. I talking on the phone when I crashed the car. (-)
  3. They swimming when they the shark. (see, +)
  4. We in class when we heard the news. (sit, +)
  5. They to music while they . (listen, study)
  6. He her when he and fell. (watch, trip)
  7. you when I called? (sleep, ?)

Answer Box

1. was 2. wasn't 3. were, saw 4. were sitting 5. were listening, were studying 6. was watching, tripped 7. Were, sleeping

Still Confused? Try an explanation in Thai.


  1. Question words (who, what, when, where, why how) come first. ↩︎