Past continuous

Funzioni del "past continuous"

Il past continuous si usa per descrivere azioni o eventi iniziati nel passato ma che continuano e hanno conseguenze nel presente. In altre parole, esprime un'azione che è percepita come incompleta o ancora in corso nel passato.

Viene utilizzato:

  • spesso, per descrivere il contesto di un racconto scritto al passato, per esempio: "The sun was shining and the birds were singing as the elephant came out of the jungle. The other animals were relaxing in the shade of the trees, but the elephant moved very quickly. She was looking for her baby, and she didn't notice the hunter who was watching her through his binoculars. When the shot rang out, she was running towards the river..."
  • per descrivere un'azione non completata che è stata interrotta dal verificarsi di un altro evento o azione, per esempio: "I was having a beautiful dream when the alarm clock rang."
  • per esprimere un cambiamento di opinione, ad esempio: "I was going to spend the day at the beach but I've decided to get my homework done instead."
  • con wonder, per formulare una domanda in modo estremamente educato: per esempio: "I was wondering if you could baby-sit for me tonight."
Esempi
  • Caroline was skiing when she broke her leg.
  • When we arrived he was having a bath.
  • When the fire started I was watching television.

Nota: con i verbi che non vengono solitamente usati alla forma progressiva, si utilizza il simple past.

Come si forma il past continuous

Il past continuous di qualsiasi verbo si compone di due parti: il passato del verbo "to be" (was/were) e la forma base del verbo principale + ing.

Soggetto +was/were +base + ing
They were watching
Affermativa
She was reading
Negativa
She wasn't reading
Interrogativa
Was she reading?
Interrogativa negativa
Wasn't she reading?
To play, past continuous
Affermativa Negativa Interrogativa
I was playing I was not playing Was I playing?
You were playing You were not playing Were you playing?
He was playing He wasn't playing Was he playing?
We were playing We weren't playing Were we playing?
They were playing They weren't playing Were they playing?