5. Past Simple - Past Continuous (1)

5. Past Simple - Past Continuous (1)

Bill describes the dinner party

Main Practice: Past Simple - Past Continuous
Revision:           How did something go?  -  pretty + adjective  -  in fact  -  I'm glad - believe me


Past Continuous:     was/were + ing
a) To describe an action happening at a certain time in the past, i.e.
  • In 2005 I was living in Berlin.
  • At nine last night we were watching TV.

b) The Past Continuous is also used to describe the background to a story, i.e.

  • While I was studying Karen phoned me three times.
  • They were playing football when the storm started.
  • When she was working for the university she began to learn / learning Spanish.

disastrous - very bad, i.e. 
  • The holiday was disastrous; everything went wrong, the flight, the hotel, the weather.
  • It was a disastrous meeting, everybody got angry and no problems were solved.

glad  -  pleased; happy , i.e.
  • I'm glad you feel better now.
  • She's glad she got the job.

pretty + adjective -  makes the adjective stronger; almost as strong as ‘very', i.e. 
  • He's a pretty good tennis player.
  • Her first novel was pretty good, but her second was better.

to argue  -  to express disagreement; often angrily, i.e. 
  • The family argue a lot, they never seem to agree about anything.
  • He had an argument (noun) with his boss and left his job.

to make matters worse - to make a bad situation worse, i.e. 
I had no rain coat and got wet, then I missed the bus and had to take a taxi, then to make matters worse I'd forgotten my train ticket and so had to buy another one.

to smash - to break something, i.e.
- Oh no, you've smashed my best vase.
- I'm sorry, it slipped out of my hands while I was cleaning it.
Bill's son, Tim, asks about the dinner party his parents had last night. The news is not good. 

Put the verbs into the correct tenses:

Bill:  Did you have a nice time last night?

Tim: Yes, thanks, me and Jane (go) out to dinner and then
          we (watch) a DVD at her place. How did the dinner
          party go?

Bill:   Not great. Pretty bad, in fact. Two of Mum's colleagues almost
            (hit) each other when  they (argue)
           about politics. Then while that (happen) Mum
            (forget) about the rice so that was over-cooked. And to make        
           matters worse, one of my colleagues at school, Doug Hooper, the
           maths teacher, (get) drunk,   (fall) over the
           coffee table, (smash) four wine glasses, and then
            (shout) at anyone who (try) to help him.

Tim:  Oh dear. Sounds disastrous.

Bill:   It was. Mum was upset. I think she (find) it difficult to
            be polite to Doug when he (phone) this morning to apologise.

Tim:  Well, I'm glad I (go) out and (miss) it all.

Bill:   You (make) the right decision, Tim, believe me.


Put the verbs into Past Simple or Past Continuous.

1.  Some people say Bobby Fischer was the greatest chess player of all
     time. While he (live) with his family in New York
     he (meet) Carmine Nigro, who was to become his chess teacher.

2.  We (see) a car accident while we (shop)
     this morning. 

3.  It (snow) hard when we got up this morning.
     It (stop) just after we'd had breakfast and we
     (go) out to build a snowman.  Ann (say) we should build
     a snow-woman, too. John (argue) there's no such thing
     as a snow-woman but Ann *(insist) there had to be
     snow-women or there couldn't be any snowmen. They
     ** argue) about it for a long time and then
      (start) a snow ball fight. While they  (fight)
     I (make) a beautiful  snow-woman.

* insist  -  to say something is true and not allow anyone to disagree; or
                    to demand that something is done.
** argued  - is also possible, though probably less likely.