General Writing and Grammar Help/The past continuous

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Question
Hi
which sentence is true?
I was having an accident yesterday.

I had an accident yesterday.

Thank you

Answer
Dear Farzad:

which sentence is true?
I was having an accident yesterday.

I had an accident yesterday.

*** You can use the past continuous [or "past progressive"] for actions that BEGAN in the past and are continuing up to the present time.  This tense can also be used for actions that BEGAN in the past and were interrupted by some other events.  OR, you can use the past continuous to refer to ongoing actions that began in the past, but you don't when they are [or were] completed.

EXAMPLES:

Last week, I started studying for my next exam, which will be given tomorrow.  [This sentence says that your studying began last week and is probably still going on, since the test is not until tomorrow.]

The car had been sliding on the ice.  [Although this sentence is grammatically correct, it is not a good sentence, because we don't know if or "WHEN" the car stopped sliding.  Here's a better version:  The car had been sliding on the ice,  before it finally crashed into the tree.]

I was talking to my brother.  [OK, but not very good.]

I was talking to my brother when my girlfriend came to my house to remove all my clothing. [much better, because you indicate what interrupted your talking]



Because your accident took place at just one time and did not continue, only the second sentence is correct.  You HAD the accident, and you HAD it yesterday.

Ted

Try talking these little tests.

http://www.perfect-english-grammar.com/past-simple-past-continuous-exercise-1.ht

http://www.5minuteenglish.com/mar10.htm

*** See if you can watch this You Tube video:


VIDEO -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MzfTgFRfQoE  

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Ted Nesbitt

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I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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