1. How to make the Past Continuous Tense?

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1. How to make the Past Continuous Tense?

The Past Continuous is made with the Past form of the verb "to be" (I was, you were, he/she/it was, we were, you were, they were) + the '-ing' form of the main verb. The '-ing' form of the verb is called the Present Participle.

Affirmative (Positive) Form

Negative Form

Question Form

















































































Contracted forms: "Wasn't reading" and "weren't reading" are the contracted forms of "was not reading" and "were not reading"
2. Using the Past Continuous Tense.
We use the Past Continuous Tense to say that someone was at the middle of doing something at a certain time. The action or situation has already started before this time but hadn't finished yet:

Examples: 1. What were they doing at 10 o'clock?

They were working at the garden.

2. Last summer at this time he was visiting Mexico.

3. Karen was walking to school at 8.30 this morning.

4. They were dancing at a friend's birthday party last night at 10.30 p.m.

The Past Continuous is also used together with the Past Simple to say that somehing happens at the middle of something else:

Examples: 1. David was reading a book in the park when suddenly it began to rain.

2. While I was walking down the street I met an old friend.

3. He phoned as we were leaving the house.

4. They were playing cards when Jim came.
We can use the Past Continuous to indicate that two actions in the past were in the progress simultaneously (with while):

Examples: 1. While I was studying in one room my older sister was having a party in the other room.

2. While James was washing the car his wife was cleaning the house.
The Past Continuous is used to express action that were in progress at the time of another particular time:

Examples: 1. It was snowing all morning.

2. They were driving all night long.
The Past Continuous is also used to talk about irritating repeated actions in the past (with always, constantly):

Examples: 1. My girlfriend was always coming late.

2. He was always forgetting to close the door.
We use the Past Continuous to make polite inquiries:

Example: I was wondering if you could lend me your new car for a few hours.

Remember that we do not normally use the Past Continuous with no action verbs like seem, know, feel, hear, smell, taste, hate, hope, mean, prefer, love, like, etc.


1. Have you ever seen an eclipse in your life?

Are you afraid of eclipse ?

2. Read the following story about Christopher Columbus and an eclipse of the moon.


Earth Moon

Fig.6 An eclipse of the Moon


There is a story about Christopher Columbus and an eclipse of the Moon. The men of the island of Hispaniola ( in the West Indies ) suddenly refused to bring any more food. Columbus needed food and he called the men together. He had studied one of his book and he knew the date of the next eclipse. He told the men that God was angry. God was going to make the moon dark to show this. The men looked up the sky. They saw the beginning of an eclipse, and the moon got darker and darker. They were afraid and asked Columbus to help them. So he left them and went to his room in the ship. He waited there alone and then returned. He was smiling now, and he told the men not to be sad. He said that God had forgiven them. Then he pointed to the moon. The eclipse was ending; the earth’s shadow was beginning to move away; the light was getting brighter. Then all the men were glad and they promised to bring some food. They were so afraid of Columbus that they never stopped the supply of food again.

( From Elementary Scientific English Practice )

3. Grammar questions

3.1/ We can use the Past Simple and the Past Continuous together.

“ When he pointed to the moon the eclipse was ending, the earth’s shadow was beginning to move away, the light was getting brighter.”

– Which tense expresses long activities used to describe the scene?

– Which tense expresses shorter activities that happened in the middle?

3.2/ Look at two examples in the text . Why is the Past Perfect used ?

“ He had studied one of his book , and he knew the date of the next eclipse.”

“ He said that God had forgiven them.”

Complete this rule: The Past Perfect is formed with the auxiliary verb ..........+ the............


1. Use the Past Simple or the Past Continuous in the following:

a. In May 1941 Sir Frank Whittle (invent )…………a jet engine. At the same time

the Germans also (build) ………………….another one, but neither country (tell)

the other.

b. The idea of gravity (occur) ………to Newton while he (sit) ……under an apple

tree on his mother’s farm.

c. When I (walk) …………in they (talk ) ………about babies.

d. I ( call )………Roger at nine last night, but he (be, not ) ………at home. He

(study)………… at the library.

e. In 1933, while Einstein (visit) ………the United States, Hitler (come) ………to


f. She (meet) ………her husband while she (travel ) ………in Egypt.

2. Join the beginning and ends to make sensible sentences:

Beginnings Ends

a. After he had tried on six pairs of shoes

b. After Mary had done all the shopping

c. When I had washed and dried the last plate

d. When Mark had looked through all the drawers in his room

e. When he had finished eating lunch

- he decided he liked the first ones best.

- he started going through the cupboards downstairs.

- she took a short walk round the park.

- he went to the cafe in the square for a cup of coffee.

- Paul came in and offered to help.

• Note: We often use the Past Perfect after when and after to show that something was completely finished.

3. Use when or after to make one sentence for each situation:

a. I wrote to my friend. Then I watched television for an hour.

b. Everybody had a chance to say what they thought. Then we took a vote.

c. She stopped trying to lose weight. She looked much healthier.

d. He bought presents for everyone in his family. Then he bought something for himself as well.


• Reading

1. Use your dictionary to check the meaning of these words

rope (n) cylinders (n) brake (n) frozen (adj) throw (v)

2. Put a given word into each gap.

a. We tied the thief’s feet with a …………………………………......

b. The engine of this car has four ………………………………. .......

c. Peter put the ………………………………on, and tried to stop the car.

d. They drove several motor – cars across the ………………………lake.

e. How far can you ………………………………………?

3. Read the text quickly. Find more examples of the Past Continuous and the Past Perfect.

Fig.7 Everything is buoyed up by a force equal to the weight of air it displaces. Why, hen, doesn’t everything float like this balloon?


Men used to travel a long way in balloons. A man once flew 1,890 miles in a balloon. He did this in February 1914, before the first great war. On November 18th, 1908, three other men went up in a balloon. They started early in London. The captain was Auguste Gaudron. They had a big balloon, and they had planned to go a long way. Soon they heard the sea below them. They were carrying the usual rope and it was hanging down from the basket of the balloon. At the bottom of the rope they had fixed a metal cylinder. This could hold water, or it could be empty. So they were able to change its weight. It was for use over the sea. They were also carrying some bags of sand. When they heard the sea, they sent the cylinder down. A strong wind was blowing, and the balloon was travelling quite fast. It was moving at a speed of 30 miles an hour. As soon as the cylinder touched the sea, water filled it. It tried to pull the water of the sea with it. It was moving at a high speed; so this almost stopped the balloon. The cylinder suddenly pulled the balloon’s rope, and it acted like a powerful brake. The balloon came down very low; it almost touched the sea. The men threw a lot of sand out to make the balloon’s weight less. Without the weight of the sand, the balloon rose suddenly into the sky. It went up to 7,000 feet. It continued moving towards the east. The three men reached Belgium and watched the sun set near Ostend. Then they went on over Holland and Germany. It was dark now. Then the tired men slept in the balloon.

After the sun rose, the balloon went higher. It went up to 10,000 feet, and the air was very cold . The water in the balloon began to freeze . There was some frozen snow on the balloon, and that made it very heavy. The men tried to throw out some more sand, but it was frozen and hard.

Then the cylinder at the bottom of the rope hit the ground. It began to act as a brake again. It hit a building, and the balloon started to dance up and down. They threw out some more sand and pulled the rope up. It was hard work, and their hearts were beating loudly. The air was thin and there was not much oxygen; so it was hard to breathe. At last they pulled the cylinder into the basket. It was still snowing, so they climbed to escape from the snow. They rose to 17,000 feet. Everything froze, even their thermometer froze. They were so cold that they decided to land. They came down in Poland heavily but safely. They had travelled 1,117 miles from London.

( From Elementary Scientific English Practice )

Comprehension check

1. Put the sentences in the right order to have a summary of the story:

The higher the balloon went up , the colder the air was.

The men decided to land in Poland after they had travelled 1,117 miles from London.

Some more sand was thrown out and the cylinder was pulled into the basket, so the men rose to 17,000 feet while it was snowing very hard.

Captain Auguste Gaudron and his companions started travelling in a balloon in London on November 18th, 1908.

The men threw a lot of sand out when the balloon was going down very low.

When they were flying over the sea, the cylinder was filled with water and this made the balloon come down.

The frozen snow on the balloon made it come down until the cylinder hit a building.

2. Answer the questions:

a. Who flew more than a thousand miles in a balloon in 1908?

b. Why had they fixed a metal cylinder at the bottom of the rope?

c. Why did the men throw some sand out when they were travelling over the sea?

d. Where were the men when the sun set?

e. What happened when the balloon reached 10,000 feet?

f. Why did the men decide to land in Poland?

3. Vocabulary

Put the right preposition in each space:

a. The men started travelling ………………November, 18th, 1908.

b. They heard the sea ……………the balloon.


c. The balloon was moving ………………a high speed.

d. It went up suddenly ……………the sky.

e. The tired men slept …………the balloon.

f. The men threw ……......……some more sand.

g. They climbed to escape …………the snow.

h. They had travelled 1,117 miles ……………London.


1. Make sure that you know the meaning of these words below:

buoy ( v )

buoyant ( adj ) ~ force

helium ( n )

dense ( adj )

2. Can you answer the following questions?

“ Two balloons are inflated to the same size , one with air and the other with


Which balloon experiences the greater buoyant force?

Why does the air - filled balloon sink and the helium - filled balloon float?

3. You will listen to the answer. Try to complete the following sentences:

a. Both balloons are buoyed upward with……………………

b. The air – filled balloon sinks in air because ………………

c. The helium - filled balloon floats in air because ……………

d. The air – filled balloon is slightly more dense than …………

e. Helium, even somewhat compressed, is appreciably less dense than ..……

4. Critically thinking:

What happens to the rubber helium balloon that a child releases?


# The Past Continuous and the Past Simple can be used together when the Past

Continuous expresses longer background action or situation, and the Past Simple

expresses a shorter action that happened in the middle.

# We use the Past Perfect to express an action that was completed before another

action or time in the past.

• Translate into Vietnamese:

Archimedes (287-212 B.C) was asked by King Hiero to determine if a crown

Hiero had an artisan make contained the actual quantity of gold given him or if it

had been adulterated with silver. As he lowered himself into water while bathing,

Archimedes realized that water was displaced and his body seemed to weigh less.

He lept from his bath and ran through the streets shouting “Eureka”. (I have found

it.) Archimedes realized that by submerging weights of gold and silver equal to

that of the crown, different volumes of water would be displaced. This discovery

allowed him to demonstrate that the crown was indeed not pure.


act (v)


действувам, върша, извършвам, правя, държа се, постъпвам

anthropologist (n)



appreciably (adv)



attract (v)


привличам, притегля

bag (n)


торба, чанта, чантичка, кесия, чувал

basket (n)


кошница, кош, кошче, гондола на балон

brake (n)


слагам спирачки на, спирам, забавям (и прен.)

buoy (v)


1. маркирам с шамандури

2. държа на повърхността (и с up)

3. прен. подкрепям, повдигам духа на, насърчавам

buoyant (adj)


1. плаващ (за тяло, предмет)

2. способен да (се) държи на повърхността

3. прeн. весел, жизнерадостен, не падащ духом

4. гъвкав

chance (n)


1. случай, случайност

2. риск, случайност, късмет, съдба

collect (v)


събирам, натрупвам, правя (си) колекция, колекционирам

companion (n)


1. другар, съпруг

2. придружител, компанъон, събеседник

3. съучастник, съдружник

compress (v)


1. сгъстявам, компримирам, натиквам

2. изразявам (мисли и пр.) сбито

cupboard (n)


шкаф, дола

cylinder (n)


геом. цилиндър (и авт.), цилиндрична повърхност

dark (adj)



eclipse (n)



empty (adj)


празен, пуст, безлюден

end (v)


1. свършвам (се), слагам/турям край на, завършвам, приключвам (се), преустановявам, спирам

2. умирам, свършвам

3. убивам, довършвам

engine (n)


1. машина, мотор, двигател

fill (v)


1. пълня (се), напълвам (се), изпълвам (се) (with с)

2. запълвам, натъпквам

fix (v)


закрепвам (се), прикрепвам (се), заковавам, забивам, инсталирам, поставям, слагам

float (v)


1. плувам, плавам, държа се на повърхността (и за чавек), не потъвам, нося се (и във въздуха), понасям се (във водата-за заседнал кораб)

2. прен. нося се, блуждая, мяркам се (в съзнанието)

forgive (transitive v.)


(forgave, forgiven) прощавам, опрощавам

freeze (v)


замръзвам, замразявам (се), заледявам (се), вледенявам (се), измръзвам, премръзвам, вкоченявам (се)

ground (n)


1. земя, почва, под, настилка

2. позиция, становище

hang (v)


1. закачам, окачам (on, from), окачвам (дивеч, месо) да се суши

2. вися, увиснал съм (on, from)

heavily (adv)


1. тежко, тягостно

2. силно, тежко

3. мъчително, с усилие (за дишане, движение)

helium (n)


хим. хелий

hit (v)


удрям, бия, нанасям удар

inflate (v)


надувам, напомпвам (гума)

invent (v)


изнамирам, изобретявам, измислям, създавам

island (n)



jet (n)


реактивен самолет/двигател

land (n)


земя, суша

occur (v)


1. срещам се, намирам се (за минерала, растения и пр.)

2. ставам, случвам се, настъпвам (за събитие и пр.)

offer (v)



point (n)


1. точка (u геом.)

2. място, пункт, позиция, положение

powerful (adj)


мощен, силен (и прен.), могъщ

produce (v)


1. произвеждам, изработвам фабрикувам

2. изваждам, показвам (документ, билет и пр.), представям (документ, доказателство), привеждам (доводи), довеждам (свидетел)

promise (n)



reach (v)


простирам (се) (до), стигам до

refuse (transitive v.)


отказвам (на), отхвърлям

rise (v)


издигам се, вдигам се, извишавам се

safely (adv )


1. благополучно

2. сигурно, със сигурност

sand (n)



sensible (adj)


1. сетивен, видим, осезаем, забележим

2. значителен, забележим, доста голям

shadow (n)


сянка (и прен.)

sink (n)


потъвам, затъвам (и прен.)

slightly (adv)


1. тънко, слабо

2. крехко, чупливо

3. малко, незначително, леко, слабо

somewhat (adv)


малко, доста, до известна степен

suddenly (adv)


внезапно, ненадейно, неочаквано, изневиделица

thermometer (n)


термометър, топломер

throw out


vote (n)


глас, гласуване, гласоподаване, вот

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