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UNIT 2 — TRAVEL — Lesson 3B
Time Clauses

 
  At this point you can write simple sentences, simple sentences with two subjects, simple sentences with two objects, and compound sentences. This lesson gives you information about writing other challenging sentences.

Look at the following sentences that use examples of the past tense.

Example 1

   

Jane was packing her suitcase at 9:30. (past continuous)
Alison called at 9:35. (simple past)

The two sentences can be joined to make this sentence:

   

Jane was packing her suitcase when Alison called.

In the sentence:

  • the past continuous describes an action that was in progress when another action occurred.
  • the simple past is the second action which interrupts the action in progress.
  • "when Alison called" is a time clause.

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Example 2

   

John was packing his suitcase at 9:30.
Susan was washing her clothes at 9:30.

The two sentences can be joined to make this sentence:

   

John was packing his suitcase while Susan was washing her clothes.

In the sentence:

  • the past continuous describes two actions in progress at the same time.
  • "while Susan was washing her clothes" is a time clause.

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The two example sentences give you information on time clauses and past continuous. This lesson focuses on time clauses. The Grammar & Structure Reference Tool has more information on the different ways to use the Past Continuous.