Verbs - past continuous tense

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The past continuous tense is used for an action which was in progress at a point in the past. For example "he was going to Gauteng". In Setswana, this is formed by using an "auxiliary verb" (ne). Both the verb ne and the original verb take the object marker.

Past Continuous positive

  • ke ne ke ithuta Setswana = I was learning Setswana
  • o ne o ithuta Setswana = you were learning Setswana
  • o ne a ithuta Setswana = she was learning Setswana
ke ne ke nna kwa Kanye ngwaga e e fetileng I was staying in Kanye last year
o ne o tshameka sentle thata you were playing very well
Mosidi o ne a opela monate Mosidi was singing nicely
re ne re ithuta go bala le go kwala we were learning (how) to read and write
Bo-rra, a lo ne lo bua kaga dikgomo ? Gentlemen, were you talking about cattle ?
Dikgomo di ne di nwa metsi kwa sedibeng @@@
Dipodi di ne di fula kwa thabeng the goats were grazing at the mountain

Past Continuous negative

An additional "sa" is placed just before the verb to make it negative, and the end of the verb is changed to -e

  • ke ne ke sa ithute Setswana = I wasn't learning Setswana
  • o ne o sa ithute Setswana = you weren't learning Setswana
  • o ne a sa ithute Setswana = she wasn't learning Setswana
ke ne ke sa nne kwa Kanye ngwaga e e fetileng I wasn't staying in Kanye last year
o ne o sa tshameke sentle thata you weren't playing very well
Mosidi o ne a sa opele monate Mosidi wasn't singing nicely
re ne re sa ithute go bala le go kwala we weren't learning (how) to read and write
Bo-rra, a lo ne lo sa bue kaga dikgomo ? Gentlemen, weren't you talking about cattle ?
Dikgomo di ne di sa nwe metsi kwa sedibeng @@@
Dipodi di ne di sa fule kwa thabeng the goats weren't grazing at the mountain

Past Continuous of "to be" (Copulative)

This is formed using "le" for the verb in the positive

  • ke ne ke le kgosi = I was a chief
  • o ne o le kgosi = you were a chief

In the negative, "se" is used

  • ke ne ke se kgosi = I wasn't a chief
  • o ne o se kgosi = you weren't a chief
ke ne ke le kgosi ngwaga e e fetileng I was the chief last year
ke ne ke se kgosi ngwaga e e fetileng I wasn't the chief last year
go ne go le tsidi maabane it was cold yesterday
go ne go se tsidi maabane it wasn't cold yesterday

Exercise

gompieno ka 7.10 ke ne ke le mo tseleng go tla B.O.C x
ke na ke le mokima ngwaga e e fetileng x
Tumelo o ne a le kae maabane maitseboa ? x
O ne a le kwa Mike's Kitchen x
A go ne go le monate kwa Bull and Bush ? x
Ee, go ne go le monate thata x
A go ne go le Labotlhano maabane ? x
Nnyaa, go ne go se Labotlhano x
ke ne ke le nosi mo sekolong maabane x
ke ne ke le nosi fa ke simolola ga apaya x