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To talk = parlare

Forma affermativa
I was talking io parlavo/stavo parlando
You were talking tu parlavi/ stavi parlando
He, she, it was talking egli/lei/Lei(cortesia) parlava/ stava parlando
We were talking noi parlavamo/ stavamo parlando
you were talking Voi parlavate/ stavate parlando
They were talking essi/esse parlavano/ stavano parlando

Forma negativa
I Wasn’t talking io non parlavo/non stavo parlando
You Weren’t talking tu non parlavi
He, she, it Wasn’t talking egli/lei/Lei(cortesia) non parlava,
We Weren’t talking noi non parlavamo
You Weren’t talking voi non parlavate
They Weren’t talking essi/esse non parlavano

Forma interrogativa
Was I talking parlavo io?/ stavo parlando io?
W you talking parlavi tu?
ere
Was he, she, it talking parlava egli/lei/Lei?
W we talking parlavamo noi?
ere
W you talking parlavate voi?
ere
W they talking parlavano essi/esse?
ere

Si usa il Past Continuous / We use the Past Continuous:


• quando si descrive un'azione che si è prolungata per un certo periodo di tempo
nel passato e che è stata interrotta da un'azione breve che usa il Past Simple.
L’azione comincia prima di un’altra e finisce dopo.
when we describe a longer action in the past interrupted by a shorter action
which uses the Past Simple. One action began before another, and finished
after it.
When the phone rang, she was having a shower. Quando è suonato il telefono, lei
faceva la doccia.
You were not listening to me when I told you to turn the oven off. Non mi ascoltavi
quando ti ho detto di spegnere il forno.
I was reading a book when she called. Leggevo un libro quando lei ha chiamato.

6:30 7:00
She called
reading reading reading reading reading reading
• Si può anche usare il tempo specifico come interruzione. Parliamo di
un’azione già cominciata e che stava ancora continuando in un determinato
momento.
You can also use a specific time as an interruption. We are talking about an
action that had already started and was still continuing at a particular time:
Last night at 10 PM, I was studying. Ieri ser alle 10, stavo studiando.
At noon, I was having lunch. Amezzogiorno, pranzavo.
At 11 am, I was attending my Spanish course. Alle 11, assistevo al corso di
spagnolo.

Watch out:
• Nel Past Simple un tempo determinato indica che un’azione comincia o
finisce, nel Past Continuous indica l’interruzione di un’azione.
In the Past Simple, a specific time is used to show when an action began or
finished. In the Past Continuous, a specific time only interrupts the action.
Yesterday at 8 PM, I had dinner. Ieri ho cenato alle otto.
I started eating at 8 PM. Ho cominciato alle 8.
Yesterday at 8 PM, I was having dinner. Ieri alle 8 stavo cenando.
I started earlier and at 8 PM I was in the process of eating dinner. Ho iniziato la
cena prima delle 8, pertanto alle 8 stavo realizzando l’azione del mangiare.

• Il Past Continuous si usa anche quando vi sono due azioni contemporanee nella
stessa frase. Le azioni sono parallele.
The Past Continuous can be used in two actions expressed in the same
sentence, both actions were happening at the same time.
I was reading while she was cooking. Io leggevo mentre lei cucinava.
While Tom was reading, Lucy was watching television. Mentre Tom leggeva, Lucy
guardava televisione.
I wasn't paying attention while the teacher was explaining the lesson. Non
prestavo attenzione mentre l’insegnante spiegava la lezione.

• In inglese spesso usiamo azioni parallele per descrivere momenti particolari in


passato.
In English, we often use a series of parallel actions to describe the
atmosphere at a particular time in the past.
While I was walking into the wood, the sun was shining, the wind was blowing,
the birds were singing and my little brother was complaining. Mentre camminavo
nel bosco, il sole brillava, il vento soffiava, gli uccelli cinguettavano e il mio fratellino si
lamentava.

• Il Past Continuous usato con parole come "always, constantly" da l’idea che
qualcosa di sgradevole o di irritante stava accadendo nel passato. Il concetto è
molto simile all’espressione “used to” ma con valore negativo. Ricorda che
"always, constantly" vanno inseriti fra “be” e “verbo+ing”.
The Past Continuous with words such as "always" or "constantly" expresses
something irritating or shocking happened in the past. The concept is very
similar to the expression “used to" but with negative emotion. Remember to
put the words "always" or "constantly" between "be" and "verb+ing.“
Betty is always arriving at school late. Betty arrivava sempre tardi a scuola.
She was constantly complaining, she was unbearable. Lei si lamentava
costantemente, era insopportabile.

• Il Past Continuous traduce l’imperfetto indicativo. The past continuous


corrisponds to the “imperfetto indicativo”.
Ieri Mark giocava a tennis alle tre.
Ieri Mark stava giocando a tennis alle tre.
Yesterday Mark was playing tennis at three.

Ma bisogna ricordare che l’imperfetto indicativo/but it’s too important to


Remember that “the imperfetto indicativo”:
1. si traduce con il Past Continuous quando può essere trasformato
nell’espressione stava + gerundio/is translated with the Past Continuous
when can be turned into stava + gerundio:
Ieri Mark giocava a tennis alle tre. Ieri Mark stava giocando a tennis alle tre.
Yesterday Mark was playing tennis at three.
2. Si traduce con il Past Simple quando non può essere trasformato
nell’espressione stava + gerundio/ is translated with the Past Simple when
can’t be turned into stava + gerundio:
Mark quando era in vacanze, si alzava tardi e non faceva colazione. Alzava e
faceva non possono essere trasformati in stava alzandosi e stava facendo.
When Mark was in holiday, he got up late and didn’t have breakfast.

REMEMBER:
I "Non-Continuous Verbs," è un piccolo gruppo di verbi che esprimono azioni
che non possiamo vedere in corso di svolgimento. Pertanto questi verbi non vengono
usati nei tempi continuous.
The “Non-Continuous Verbs” is a small group of verbs which expresses
actions you cannot see somebody doing. These verbs are not used in
continuous tenses. They include:
Verbi astratti:
to be, to want, to cost, to seem, to need, to care, to contain, to owe, to exist...
Verbi di possesso:
to possess, to own, to belong...
Verbi di emozione:
to like, to love, to hate, to dislike, to fear, to envy, to mind...

He asked some money, because he was needing it. Not Correct


He asked some money, because he needed it. Correct

Some clauses begin with the word "when." Other clauses begin with
"while." “When" is followed by the Past Simple, whereas "while" is usually
followedby the Past Continuous. "While" expresses the idea of "during that
time."
Alcune proposizioni cominciano con quando, altre con mentre. Quando è seguito
spesso dal Past Simple, invece mentre è seguito dal Past Continuous.
• I was having a shower when she arrived.
• While I was having a shower, she arrived.
*Interactive Exercises
http://www.englisch-
hilfen.de/en/exercises/tenses/past_progressive_mix2.htm
http://www.ego4u.com/en/cram-up/grammar/past-
progressive/exercises?04
http://www.ego4u.com/en/cram-up/grammar/past-
progressive/exercises?07
http://www.englishpage.com/verbpage/verbs3.htm
http://perso.wanadoo.es/autoEnglish/gr.pascon.i.htm
http://www.learnenglish.de/Games/Tenses/PastSvsPastC.htm
http://www.ego4u.com/en/cram-up/grammar/simpas-
paspro/exercises?ex02
http://www.ego4u.com/en/cram-up/grammar/simpas-
paspro/exercises?ex03

*Please note:
Listen carefully to the following videos in youtube, they speak about
the Past Continuous.
Ascoltate attentamente i seguenti video di youtube, essi parlano del
Past Continuous.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEZn-
V95EtY&feature=PlayList&p=970A964D8BFA3FCC&playnext=1&playn
ext_from=PL&index=29 examples
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5B9J2y7nd8 past continuous