過去形と過去進行形の違い|How is the past continuous different from the past tense?

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Hey hey Coach Chris here with eigo2020.jp where we fixed English mistakes Japanese people make before the Olympics and beyond.  So “I was late because I helped an old lady.” Yeah, that’s nice, but… It sounds like a simple action just happened and I should just accept it. In a situation where you were supposed to be doing something, but you were doing something else, you should attach ‘ing’ to the verb. If you understand what I mean. Not too technical, but for example: “I was late because I was helping an old lady”. Let me explain again, I have no problems with you helping an old lady, but, what were you doing when you were supposed to be here? Not just, what you did. Anyway, what we are doing at eigo2020.jp is creating English programs, rapid ones. So you can become an English master, quickly, just like you’ve always wanted, so, subscribe, and tap the bell at the bottom so you can get all of our videos and let’s train together before the olympics and beyond. And remember, Coach Chris is always with you.


[日本語文へ]

What is the difference between past tense and past continuous tense?

  • “I swam in the ocean.”
  • “I was swimming in the ocean.”

In essence these tenses are the same. They both express what happened before now. 

So why the need for both of them?

Past continuous helps explain two things that happened simultaneously. It paints a more specific picture that can help as an explanation. 

If you say:

“I drank and she took the bottle.” (past tense + past tense), it sounds like you drank, finished, and then she took the bottle. 

The sentence is quite vague actually.

Whereas if you say “I was drinking and she took the bottle” (past continuous tense + past tense), we can visualize you with the bottle to your mouth, and her taking the bottle, making it spill everywhere.

This gives more detail, which can get you empathy from others.

Examples:

  • “I worked there 40 years and they sold the company.” (You worked, and possibly stopped before the company was sold.)
  • “I was working there 40 years and they sold the company.” (You were still working and the company was sold.)
  • “I slept and my cat bit me.” (You slept, woke up and then was bitten by your cat.)
  • “I was sleeping and my cat bit me.”  (You were sleeping and your cat bit you and probably woke you up.) 
  • “I rode the train and saw a celebrity.” (You went to see a celebrity by train)
  • “I was riding the train and saw a celebrity.” (When you were on the train, you encountered a celebrity) 
  • “I ate and found something strange in my food.” (You finished eating and somehow discovered something strange was in your food)
  • “I was eating and found something strange in my food.” (While you were eating you recognized something strange in your food)

As you can see, this slight difference in tense can cause a world of a difference in a conversation. 

So while reading English material, notice the past continuous and improve your expression ability.

I’m counting on you!

[日本語文へ]

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