Let’s take a good look at how the continuous tenses work.
One way of looking at the continuous and the simple in the past is like this:
The Simple Toy Soldier likes action. He goes somewhere and gets things done.
We’ll see him in action in a minute, but first, let’s look at time:
The red line represents time, moving from the past (on the left) towards now (on the right).
As I’ve written about before, when we talk about the past, we’re always telling a story.
When we tell a story, the most important parts are the “main” actions.
Let’s look at an example:
Last week we ate dinner with the Kumars. Ranjit told a great story about a traffic cone.
Here’s the Simple Toy Soldier dealing with the main actions in the past:
These are the main parts of our story, so we use the Simple Toy Soldier. He loves this stuff.
But a good story needs more atmosphere. We need to see what’s going on in the background.
This is when the Big Continuous Lamp steps in:
Last week we ate dinner with the Kumars. Ranjit told a great story about a traffic cone. It was raining.
The Big Continuous Lamp creates the background feeling to the main actions in the story.
The Simple Toy Soldier and the Big Continuous Lamp work as a storytelling team.
Let’s practise this. Can you tell a story by answering this question?
Why was Bernard wearing two different-coloured socks yesterday?
Looking forward to reading your answer! See you next week when we deal with the continuous and simple in the perfect tenses.