sexta-feira, 13 de novembro de 2009

Simple Past Vs. Past Continuous

Hi visitors, how have y'all been? I hope everybody is doing great out there. I have been thinking about a lot. I wasn't sure about what to put up this time when my student Rafael Bittencourt came in for his weekly class. We were working on Simple Past and Past Continuous when I, all of a sudden, came up with this idea of posting on focusing on forms. Nevertheless, I am sure it is not difficult for any Brazilian. Firstly, because y'all really smart. Secondly, it goes as in Portuguese. Let me break it down for you.

Simple Past is a tense in which the time MUST be specified at all times. However this time does not have to be on the sentence itself. It might be ideological. That is, when something took place MUST be specified. It is used for situations that have already finished.

How can we specify the time? The best way of specifying the time is by using TIME EXPRESSIONS or ADVERBS such as "last night", "yesterday", "three months ago", "an hour before he arrived"

THE AUXILIARY VERB for Simple Past is "DID/DID NOT(DIDN'T)" and, as all of the auxiliaries, it is used in 4 sorts of sentences: NEGATIVES, QUESTIONS, SHORT ANSWERS and when you want to EMPHASIZE SOMETHING POSITIVELY.

  1. Lil' Dawg and Jay performed at UFMG last night (POSITIVE)
  2. Lil' Dawg and Jay didn't perform at UFMG last night. (NEGATIVE) (verb back in basic form)
  3. Did Lil' Dawg and Jay perform at UFMG last night? (QUESTION) (verb back in basic form)

Present Continuous is a tense in which the time MUST, as well, be there. However, the situations described with continuous sentences are those which the events took sometime or were temporary. Its basic structure is:
Subject + was/were(according to the person) + verb(-ing) + time expression
{Was is used for: I. He, She, It} {Were is used for: You, We, They}

  1. Lil' Dawg and Jay were performing at UFMG last night.(POSITIVE)
  2. Lil' Dawg and Jay weren't performing at UFMG last night.(NEGATIVE)
  3. Were Lil' Dawg and Jay performing at UFMG last night?

Now that you are an expert in both Past Simple and Continuous, we are entirely able to put them together and make sentences. These sentences, we will make, describe situations that have gone on and were interrupted by another event.

  1. Lil' Dawg and Jay were performing on stage when power cut out.
  2. I was writing an e-mail when my mom opened the door.
  3. She and her boyfriend were talking when a thug approached them.
  4. What were you doing when the planes crashed into the World Trade Center?
  5. What was your mom doing when you arrived at home?
This is "what it is".

See y'all later on,

Rodrigo Pelegrini Honorato
ESL Teacher

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