The Past Continuous – Interrogative form

You will study The Past Continuous – Interrogative form.


The Past Continuous – Interrogative form

The world in the 60's

Instructions: Read the text and look at the words in bold.

Were things around the world changing during the Cold War?

Yes, while the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. were experiencing the Cold War, many things were undergoing in the world. Rock music bloomed in Europe and America; the hippie movement was created by young people to express their hatred against war; there was a huge student movement in America, Europe and Asia against capitalism and socialism regimes; there were wars in Asia, and guerrillas in America; people were afraid of a nucelar war between the socialist and capitalist blocs.


Getting started: Hippie counter culture movement

Instructions: Read the text to do the activity suggested.

The 1960’s hippie counter culture movement involved a variety of social concerns and beliefs. The hippies’ primary tenet was that life was about being happy. Their “if it feels good, do it” attitudes included little forethought nor concern for the consequences of their actions. Hippies were dissatisfied with what their parents had built for them, a rather strange belief given that their parents had built the greatest booming economy the world has ever seen.

Hippies rejected established institutions. Calling them “The Establishment”, “Big Brother”, and “The Man”, hippies believed the dominant mainstream culture was corrupt and inherently flawed and sought to replace it with a Utopian society.

Hippies rejected middle class values, opposed nuclear weapons and the Vietnam War. They embraced aspects of eastern philosophy and sought to find new meaning in life.

The hippie counter culture movement (1960’s). Retrieved November, 2016 from

Social concerns

Instructions: Match questions and answers.

No, he wasn't
Yes, she was
Yes, they were
No, they weren't

1. Were hippies trying to live happy?

2. Was the US president feeling free without problems?

3. Were hippies supporting established institutions?

4. Was your grandmother seeking to find new meaning in life?

The Past Continuous – Interrogative form

Let’s learn the past continuous in the interrogative form.

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

The Past Continuous is used to indicate that:

  • A long action in the past was interrupted by a shorter action (usually expressed in the Simple past).
    Example: Were the guests having dinner when they heard a horrible scream?
    When the murder took place, was she hiding between the statues?
    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.
  • A long action in the past was taking place or interrupted at a specific time.
    Examples: Was she hiding between the statues at the time of the murder?
    Last night at 6 pm, were you eating dinner?
  • Several actions are taking place at the same time in the past (“parallel actions”).
    Examples: Was detective Hercule Poirot questioning a witness while Superintendent
    Sugden was observing the crime scene?
    While Ellen was reading, was Tim watching the news?
  • Parallel actions in the past continuous are often used to describe the atmosphere of a particular time in the past.
    Examples: Were the passengers already waiting for Hercule Poirot when he entered the carriage?
    Were two men sitting stern-faced at the table on the right, while a woman was
    whispering something to her husband, and the maid was crying in a corner?

Look at the word order in the interrogative form:

Auxiliary To Be (Past Tense) Subject Verb + ING Complement When Subject Verb (past tense) Complement?
Were you watching TV when The lights turned off?  
Was she reading a book when her father called her?
Were you playing in the park when it started to rain?
Were they doing the exam when the principal arrived to the classroom?

Now, look at the short answers for each question:

Positive short answers Negative short answers
Yes, I was. No, I wasn't.
Yes, she was. No, she wasn't.
Yes, we were. No, we weren't.
Yes, they were. No, they weren't.



Instructions: Write Was or Were and the verb+ing to make questions in Past Progressive.

  1. hippies (eat) vegetables while they were promoting friendly environmental practices?
  2. they (champion) free love while they were going over sexual liberation?
  3. they (promote) the use of psychodelic drugs which they believed expanded their consciousness?
  4. your family (participate) in alternative arts, street theater when they listened to folk music and psychodelic rock?
  5. your grandfather (oppose) political and social violence when hippies promoted a gentle ideology focused on peace, love and personal freedom?
  6. some hippies (live) in communes when they aggregated communities of other hippies?
  7. somebody (describe) the 1960’s hippie movement as a religious movement when historians started writing about it?


The hippie movement

Instructions: Make questions with the following prompts:

  1. hippies / create / their own counter culture founded on psychodelic rock and the embracement of the sexual revolution?
  2. they / tightly / integrate / drugs to explore altered states of consciousness?
  3. they / also / try / to avoid drugs because they considered them harmful or addictive?
  4. your grandmother / dress / as a hippie which she believed was part of the statement?
  5. a hippie girl / include / brightly colored, ragged clothes and jewelry to be different?
  6. a hippie man / wear / long hair and beard to be different?
  7. hippies / buy / clothes at flea markets or second hand shops?


Evaluation: Hippie men

Instructions: Correct the mistakes.

  1. Was hippie men wearing their hair long, beard and mustache?
  2. Were hippie women wore little or no makeup?
  3. Were she going braless (occasionally shirtless)?
  4. Were they travel in a V.W. bus?
  5. Were they paint with colorful graphics their V.W. bus?
  6. Was they wearing a peace symbol as a hippie logo?
  7. Were she travel a lot to major hippie events?