1. Education
Send to a Friend via Email
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

Dialogue: What Were you Doing?


Couple at cafe
Nerida McMurray Photography/ Digital Vision/ Getty Images

This dialogue focuses on the use of the both the past continuous and past simple. The past continuous is used to speak about actions that were interrupted in the past such as: "I was watching TV when you telephoned." Practice the dialogue with your partner and then practice the use of these two forms on your own beginning with the question "What where you doing when + past simple". Teachers can find help and further exercises with this guide on how to teach past continuous.

What Were You Doing?

Betsy: I telephoned you yesterday afternoon but you didn't answer? Where were you?
Brian: I was in another room when you called. I didn't hear the phone ringing until it was too late.

Betsy: What were you working on?
Brian: I was photocopying a report that I needed to send to a client. What were you doing when you telephoned?

Betsy: I was looking for Tom and couldn't find him. Do you know where he was?
Brian: Tom was driving to a meeting.

Betsy: Oh, I see. What did you do yesterday?
Brian: I met the representatives from Driver's in the morning. In the afternoon, I worked on the report and was just finishing when you telephoned. What did you do?

Betsy: Well, at 9 I had a meeting with Ms Anderson. After that, I did some research.
Brian: Sounds like a boring day!

Betsy: Yes, I don't really like doing research. But it needs to be done.
Brian: I agree with you on that, no research - no business!

Betsy: Tell me about the report. What do you think of it?
Brian: I think the report is a good. Tom believes it's good, too.

Betsy: I know that every report you write is excellent.
Brian: Thank you Betsy, you are always a good friend!

Check your understanding with this multiple choice comprehension quiz.

More Dialogue Practice - Includes level and target structures / language functions for each dialogue.

  1. About.com
  2. Education
  3. English as 2nd Language
  4. Intermediate English
  5. Intermediate Reading
  6. Dialogue: What Were you Doing?

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.