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verb practice exercise: the past progressive


“While she was waiting for Jack, Jill had a cup of coffee.”

There are two verbs in this sentence. Each of the verbs describes an event. One event — Jill having a cup of coffee — is ‘inside’ another, longer event — Jill waiting for Jack. The larger event is described with the past progressive. The smaller event is described with the simple past.

Part One: use the words to make sentences with the same pattern as the example above.

(1) Tom / sleep / Jane / leave


(2) Dick/ play / tennis / hurt / leg


(3) Mary / watch / television / doorbell / ring


(4) Martha / talk / Harry / suddenly / remember / appointment


(5) Jane / get ready / hear / strange noise / kitchen


(6) Dick / work / garden / steal / car


(7) Betty / study / English / fall asleep


(8) Barbara / have a shower / husband / come home


(9) soldiers / search / car/ bomb / explode


(10) Phil and Jane / drive / lake / sky / clear


Part Two: repeat the exercise above, putting the ‘while’ clause after the main clause.

For example:

“Jill had a cup of coffee while she was waiting for Jack."