Identifying the Past Continuous Tense

They __________ while I was cooking dinner.

The word "while" tells you that two events were happening at the same time.
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Use the past continuous to express events happening at the same moment of time in the past.

When I arrived, they __________.

The sentences describes an action that was interrupted.
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Use the past continuous to express an interrupted action in the past.

I lit the fire at four, and it _________ when Lisa arrived at five.

The sentence describes something happening at a specific time in the past.
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Use the past continuous for something happening at a specific time in the past.

They __________ an argument when I arrived to celebrate Peter's birthday.

The sentence describes an action that was interrupted.
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Use the past continuous to express an interrupted action in the past.

I found this gold coin while I __________ in the garden!

Notice the word "while"! The sentence tells us that something happened while another action was already in progress.
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Use the past continuous to express something that happened while another action was in progress.

I __________ my book when the phone rang.

This sentence describes an action that was interrupted.
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Use the past continuous to express interrupted action in the past.

Last summer, the baby __________, and we couldn't figure out why.

The sentence describes something that repeatedly (over and over).
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Use the past continuous to describe repetition (something happening over and over) and irritation (something annoying).

While I was shopping, Christmas music __________ over the loudspeaker.

Notice the word "while"! The sentence tells us that something happened while another action was already in progress.
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Use the past continuous to express something that happened while another action was in progress.

I __________ out of town last Friday afternoon.

The sentence tells about something that happened at a particular moment in time.
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Use the past continuous to describe what someone was doing at a particular point in time.

We __________ a huge sandcastle when a big wave came and knocked it down.

The sentence describes an action that was interrupted.
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Use the past continuous to express interrupted action in the past.