The Past Continuous - When & While

You will study When and While.


The Past Continuous - When & While

To Kill a Mockingbird

Instructions: Read the following presentation about To Kill a Mockingbird.

To Kill a mockingbird is one of America’s best loved novels of all time. The story takes place in the Southern and very racist – town of Maycomb. It’s about a blackman, Tom Robinson, who is falsely accused of raping a white girl. In the following adaptation, Tom is giving his statement about what happened.

Look at the way While and When are used.


Getting started: Tom Robinson’s statement

Instructions: Read the text and do the suggested activity.

“I was going home as usual that evening, and when I passed the Ewell House, Miss Mayella was sitting on the porch. It seemed really quiet, not like usual. While I was passing by, she asked me to help her for a minute with the firewood. So I went inside the fence and I was looking around for the firewood when she said: ‘First, I have something for you to do in the house. The door’s a bit stuck’. So I went into the front room and looked at the door. I said: ‘Mayella, this door looks just fine.’

I was still wondering why it was so quiet in the house, when it came to me that the children weren’t home. So I asked Mayella ‘Where are the children?’ And while she was laughing, she said that they had all gone to town to get icecream.

The statement

Instructions: Choose T (True) or F (False).

1. Tom was going home when he passed the Ewell House.

2. While he was going home, he saw Miss Mayella on the porch.

3. While she was passing by, he asked her for help

4. While he was looking around she asked him to look at the door.

When & While

Let’s learn about When and While.

Instructions: Read about When and While.

We use When and While in past continuous sentences.
When is used with the Simple Past.
While is used with the Past Continuous.
Look at the examples:
When I saw her, she was waiting for someone else.
While she was waiting for someone else I saw her.


When or While?

Instructions: Write when or while to complete the sentences.

  1. The boy was reading the newspaper they were having breakfast.
  2. The cat was sleeping on the couch she entered the room.
  3. The man was standing opposite the store the events occurred.
  4. I was going home I passed his house.
  5. you said that, you weren’t saying the true.
  6. Someone else was standing at her door I turned into the passage.
  7. I was listening some music, he was reading.
Correct the mistakes

Instructions: Correct the mistakes in the following sentences.

We was standing on the beach when it started to rain.

She was sleep when a car crashed into his garden fence.

When his mother got ill, her was traveling abroad.

What were you doing while I called you?

I were reading a book when the phone rang.

While you were traveling I learn how to drive.

I was sleeping when they were talking.



When and While

Instructions: Choose When or While in the following sentences.

I was reading a novel when/while my husband arrived.

When/While I was reading, the children were playing.

The children were playing while/when it started to rain.

It was raining when/while people were running home.

when/while people were running home, the lights turned off.

when/while the lights turned off, I stopped reading.

I stopped reading while/when my husband was talking to me.