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The past progressive tense

hirashin

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Dear native English speakers,
I have made some example sentences with the past progressive tense.
Would you please check them?
1 I was playing tennis at that time.                       
2 My grandfather was reading the newspaper then.
3 Our English teacher Mr. Brown was writing a letter to his parents in America.
4 Mike was practicing soccer over there.
5 Tom and I were playing tennis at that time.
6 It was raining at seven o'clock this morning.
7 When I called him, he was taking a bath.
8 Were you taking a bath when I called you ?
9 Tom was swimming then. / Tom was swimming at that time.
10 We were watching TV/television then[/at that time].
11 When Tom came to my house/home, I was taking a bath.
12 When I got to[/arrived in] Tokyo, it was snowing.
13 I was running/jogging around here at six (o'clock) this morning.
14 When I saw[/looked at] him, he was drinking/having tea.
15 Were you guys playing tennis then[/at that time]? Yes, we were.
16 What were they doing then[/at that time]?

Thank you in advance.
Hirashin
 

Edward T.

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Dear native English speakers,
I have made some example sentences with the past progressive tense.
Would you please check them?
1 I was playing tennis at that time.                       
2 My grandfather was reading the newspaper then.
3 Our English teacher Mr. Brown was writing a letter to his parents in America.
4 Mike was practicing soccer over there.
5 Tom and I were playing tennis at that time.
6 It was raining at seven o'clock this morning.
7 When I called him, he was taking a bath.
8 Were you taking a bath when I called you ?
9 Tom was swimming then. / Tom was swimming at that time.
10 We were watching TV/television then[/at that time].
11 When Tom came to my house/home, I was taking a bath.
12 When I got to[/arrived in] Tokyo, it was snowing.
13 I was running/jogging around here at six (o'clock) this morning.
14 When I saw[/looked at] him, he was drinking/having tea.
15 Were you guys playing tennis then[/at that time]? Yes, we were.
16 What were they doing then[/at that time]?

Thank you in advance.
Hirashin
Here are my suggestions below to each of your sentences (in red). I am also providing a link which might be helpful.

1 I was playing tennis at that time. (avoid ending a sentence with "then")   
2 My grandfather was reading the newspaper at that time.
3 Our English teacher, Mr. Brown, was writing a letter to his parents in America. (Mr. Brown is a non-essential clause if he is your only English teacher)
4 Mike was practicing soccer over there.
5 Tom and I were playing tennis at that time.
6 It was raining at seven this morning. (understood without o'clock)
7 When I called him, he was taking a bath.
8 Were you taking a bath when I called you?
9 Tom was swimming at that time.
10 We were watching television at that time.
11 When Tom came to my home, I was taking a bath. (NOTE: Construction workers build houses, but people live in homes)
12 When I arrived in Tokyo, it was snowing.
13 I was running around here at six this morning. (understood without o'clock)
14 When I saw him, he was drinking tea.
15 Were you guys playing tennis at that time? Yes, we were.
16 What were they doing at that time?

I hope the suggestions above are helpful. Here is the link below about English past progressive usage.

Examples of Past Progressive Tense
 

madphysicist

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I have to disagree with some of @Edward T. 's corrections.

I would always say "to my house" not "to my home". Could be a UK/US difference, I don't know.

I would never say "at that time" except when talking about a state that lasted for a long period e.g. "At that time, I was working as a journalist" not "At that time, I was playing tennis" (unless I want to emphasise that tennis was my hobby then but I don't do it any longer, but it still sounds weird to me - I would say "I used to play tennis").

I think it's fine to end a sentence with "then". To me "I was playing tennis then" sounds much better than "I was playing tennis at that time".

These are all pretty minor points though. I think you have definitely understood the basics of using this tense.
 

hirashin

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Thank you for the help, Edward and madphysicist.
Madphysicist, are you from Britain?
I would always say "to my house" not "to my home". Could be a UK/US difference, I don't know.
I would never say "at that time" except when talking about a state that lasted for a long period e.g. "At that time, I was working as a journalist" not "At that time, I was playing tennis" (unless I want to emphasise that tennis was my hobby then but I don't do it any longer, but it still sounds weird to me - I would say "I used to play tennis").

I think it's fine to end a sentence with "then". To me "I was playing tennis then" sounds much better than "I was playing tennis at that time".

These are all pretty minor points though. I think you have definitely understood the basics of using this tense.
Hmm...interesting. Then you can't say "Tom and I were playing tennis at that time." either.
Would "In those days, I was I was working as a journalist" have the same meaning as "At that time, I was working as a journalist"?

It seems that there is a difference in the usage of "then" and "at that time" between the US and the UK.

Hirashin
 

madphysicist

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Madphysicist, are you from Britain?
Yes, and the way I speak is very close to standard British English. Of course, even within Britain there are some differences in dialects from different regions.

Would "In those days, I was I was working as a journalist" have the same meaning as "At that time, I was working as a journalist"?
I guess you have just made a typo here with "I was". Yes, to me they mean the same thing.

It seems that there is a difference in the usage of "then" and "at that time" between the US and the UK.
I don't know what exactly the difference may be between the US and UK. But usually when you are using this tense, you don't need to say "then" or "at that time", because the context is enough.

For example:

"When you called yesterday, I was playing tennis."

"You called yesterday, right? I was playing tennis, so I couldn't answer."

"I was involved in a nasty accident when I was working as a taxi driver."

The past progressive tense is most often used when there is an ongoing state (such as playing tennis), during which a shorter event happens. I have underlined the shorter event in these sentences. There is no need to add "then" or "at that time" because we already know the time period that you are talking about - it is when the shorter event happened.

Similarly, if someone asked "What did you do yesterday afternoon?", a native speaker might reply "I was playing tennis with Tom". They would be very unlikely to say "I was playing tennis with Tom then[/at that time]".

I hope that's clear.
 
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Edward T.

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I have to disagree with some of @Edward T. 's corrections.

I would always say "to my house" not "to my home". Could be a UK/US difference, I don't know.

I would never say "at that time" except when talking about a state that lasted for a long period e.g. "At that time, I was working as a journalist" not "At that time, I was playing tennis" (unless I want to emphasise that tennis was my hobby then but I don't do it any longer, but it still sounds weird to me - I would say "I used to play tennis").

I think it's fine to end a sentence with "then". To me "I was playing tennis then" sounds much better than "I was playing tennis at that time".

These are all pretty minor points though. I think you have definitely understood the basics of using this tense.
To the @madphysicist I agree with you that "then" usage might be a UK/United States difference. Here is an interesting observation about using the word "then" at the end of a sentence. separated by a common language: then

When speaking, I constantly end sentences with "then." In writing, I try to avoid it. I agree with you it's a very minor point.

As far as "home" vs. "house" usage, I follow the rule of "it's a house when built, but it becomes a home when someone lives inside." Again, a very minor difference subject to one's preference. Either is correct. I think @hirashin definitely understands the basics in the original request, and I added some suggestions.
 

Lothor

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Agree with all of Madphysicist's comments, suggesting that it is a UK/US thing (I'm British).
Certainly, 'Would you like to come to my home for toast and marmite, old chap?' sounds a bit stilted, whereas 'would you like to come to my house for toast and marmite, old chap?' is much more natural to me!
 

Edward T.

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Agree with all of Madphysicist's comments, suggesting that it is a UK/US thing (I'm British).
Certainly, 'Would you like to come to my home for toast and marmite, old chap?' sounds a bit stilted, whereas 'would you like to come to my house for toast and marmite, old chap?' is much more natural to me!
It's hard to argue with your assessment, @Lothor . 'Would you like to come to my home for toast and marmite, old chap?' sounds a bit stilted, whereas 'would you like to come to my house for toast and marmite, old chap?'

But I would counter "A man's home is his castle" sounds less stilted than "A man's house is his castle" whether it be British or in the United States. I think usage of either house and home is just a preference.

Here in the state of Kentucky, people pronounce the city of Louisville two different ways: Some refer to it as Looie-ville, while others call it Lou-uh-vool. The regional accents make the same city sound like two different places. I've heard folks from the UK who visit America refer to Edinburgh as E-den-boro. People in the United States usually pronounce it Ed-in-burg. It's amazing how many words are pronounced so differently, depending on where people reside.
 

madphysicist

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There was another thing I forgot to mention, which is that I would say "I'm having tea" much more often than "I'm drinking tea". And being British, I drink a lot of tea. Either one is okay. In the same way, you can say "I'm having a hamburger" instead of "I'm eating a hamburger".

@Edward T.
I think when correcting a non-native speaker it's important to say whether something is actually a mistake (i.e. no native would say it) or just a preference. Because sometimes when I'm learning a new language someone would tell me "don't say X, say Y" and then I would see a native use X and get confused.

There are of course times when I use the word "home". In this particular phrase I wouldn't, though. I just wanted to point out that the original sentences were not wrong as such.
 

Timelyn

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I actually agree with Edward's preferences. I'm from Maryland so I guess it all is a UK/US thing.
I would always use at that time before using then at the end of sentences.
 

hirashin

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Thank you all for your further information.
 
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