The Past Continuous – Positive form

You will study The Past Continuous – Positive form.


The Past Continuous – Positive form

Racism in the world

Imagen: A rally against school integration. Public Domain.

Instructions: Read about Racism.

Was the Nazi government practicing racism at the beginning of the 20th century?

Well, racism is the belief that characteristics and abilities can be attributed to people simply on the basis of their race and that some racial groups are superior to others. Racism and discrimination have been used as powerful weapons encouraging fear or hatred of others in times of conflict and war, and even during economic downturns. Racism is also a very touchy subject for some people, as issues concerning free speech and Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights come into play. Some people argue that talking about supporting racial discrimination and prejudice is just words and that free speech should allow such views to be aired without restriction. Others point out that these words can lead to some very dire and serious consequences, the Nazi government policies being one example.

Racism. Retrieved November, 2016 from


Getting started: Racism in Europe

Instructions: Read the text to do the activities suggested.

From the institutionalized racism especially in colonial times, when racial beliefs were not considered something wrong, to recent times where the effects of neo-Nazism is still felt, Europe is a complex area with many cultures in a relatively small area of land that has seen many conflicts throughout history. Many of these conflicts have had trade, resources and comercial rivalry at their core, but national identities have often added fuel to some of these conflicts. Racism has also been used to justify exploitation.

In the century of total war, and the new millennium, Europe was seeing an alarming resurgence in xenophobia and racial hatred. In various places throughout Western Europe, in 2002, racist attacks and sentiments against both Arabs and Jews were rising. Earlier in 1998, in an area of Germany a right wing racist party was winning an unprecedented number of votes. In Italy, there were attempts to try and deal with the rise in undocumented immigrants from Tunisia. The reactions were being labeled by some as “openly racist”. Spain was seeing increased racial violence. The growing economy invites immigrants from North African countries, however, the poor conditions that immigrants have had to endure and the already racially charged region has led to friction and confrontations. In 1997, Human Rights Watch noted that the UK had one of the highest levels of racism and the problem was getting worse.

Racism. Retrieved and adapted November, 2016 from

European racism

Instructions: Match the two halves of the sentences.

1. At the end of the 20th century Europe

2. In 2002 racist attacks and sentiments against both Arabs and Jews

3. Racial violence

4. Levels of racism

were rising in Europe.
were getting worse in the U.K.
was facing a resurgence in racial hatred.
was increasing in Spain.

Let’s find out how to express ideas in the Past Continuous positive form.

Instructions: Read about the Past Continuous in the positive form.

The Past Continuous is used to indicate that:

1) A long action in the past was interrupted by a shorter action (usually expressed in the Simple past).

  • The guests were having dinner when they heard a horrible scream.
  • When the murder took place, she was hiding between the statues.
  • The murder occurred while the guests were having dinner.

Notice that, in these cases, the time connector when is used with the simple past and the connector while is used with the past continuous.

2) A long action in the past was taking place or interrupted at a specific time.

  • She was hiding between the statues at the time of the murder.
  • Last night at 6 pm, I was eating dinner.

3) Several actions are taking place at the same time in the past (“parallel actions”).

  • Detective Hercule Poirot was questioning a witness while Superintendent.
  • Sugden was observing the crime scene.
  • While Ellen was reading, Tim was watching the news.

4) Parallel actions in the past continuous are often used to describe the atmosphere of a particular time in the past.

  • When Hercule Poirot entered the carriage, the passengers were already waiting for him.
  • Two men were sitting stern-faced at the table on the right, a woman was whispering something to her husband, and the maid was crying in a corner.

Look at the word order in the positive form:

Subject I She We They
Auxiliary To Be (Past Tense) was was were were
Verb + ING watching reading playing doing
Complement T.V. a book in the park the exam
When when when when when
Subject the lights her father it the principal
(Past tense)
turned off. called started arrived
Complement   her. to rain. to the classroom.

Listen and repeat

Instructions: Listen and repeat the following sentences.

  • volume_up The guy was reading the newspaper while they were having breakfast.
  • volume_up The dog was sleeping on the couch when she entered the room.
  • volume_up The witness was standing opposite the store when the events occurred .
  • volume_up I was going home as usual that evening, when I passed her house.
  • volume_up You weren't speaking the truth when you said that.
  • volume_up When I turned into the passage, someone else was standing at his door.
  • volume_up Two men were sitting stern-faced at the table on the right, a woman was whispering something to her husband, and the maid was crying in a corner.


Past Continuous

Instructions: Fill in the blanks with the appropriate form of the verb in parenthesis.

  1. Tony and Martha (play) on the beach when suddenly it began to rain.
  2. While the passengers (cry) for help, the Titanic started to sink.
  3. When I walked into the office, several people (type) on the computer, some (talk) on the phones, the boss (yell) directions, and customers (wait) to be helped.
  4. He (fall) asleep when a car crashed into his garden fence.
  5. When his mother fell ill, he (work) abroad.
  6. I (listen), when you explained it to me.
  7. While he (wait) in the hospital, I quickly went to buy us something to eat.
  8. doneCheck


Racism in Australia

Instructions: Fill in the gaps with the appropriate form of the verb in parenthesis.

In June 1998, an Australian nationalist party in Queensland won 25 percent of the votes with their main lines at fighting immigration by non-whites. This was made possible where unemployment was high and where it was easy to convince the people that immigrants (take) their jobs.

Australia has also had a very racist past. They (practice) apartheid and indigenous Aboriginal people lost almost all their land and suffered many prejudices.

The Sydney 2000 Olympics also brought some of Australia’s racist past and present to the fore. On the positive side, many parts of Australia’s rich diversity in people slowly (help) relieve prejudism. However, some more traditional and conservative politicians are still openly racist.

In 2008, a study found that Australians in general (welcome) of diversity but some 1 in 10 Australians still hold racist views. Muslims were most feared or loathed for “not belonging”, and followed by indigenous Australians and Africans.

In 2009 and 2010, there (increase) racist attacks against Indians, with many Indians in Melbourne fearing racist attacks, and lynchings were increasing. It even led to the Indian government issuing an advisory warning about the dangers of traveling to Melbourne.

Racism. Retrieved and adapted November, 2016 from