Languages › English as a Second Language What Were You Doing? Dialogue Exercise Share Flipboard Email Print Nerida McMurray Photography / Digital Vision / Getty Images English as a Second Language Reading Comprehension Pronunciation & Conversation Vocabulary Writing Skills Grammar Business English Resources for Teachers By Kenneth Beare English as a Second Language (ESL) Expert TESOL Diploma, Trinity College London M.A., Music Performance, Cologne University of Music B.A., Vocal Performance, Eastman School of Music Kenneth Beare is an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher and course developer with over three decades of teaching experience. our editorial process Kenneth Beare Updated July 23, 2018 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". English Dialogue Practice: "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!