Jun 20 2018


Hunting has been an activity for as long as there have been people and animals. For thousands of years, humans have hunted animals for food, but today people also hunt for sport. An animal that is killed might not be eaten, but instead its skin or head might be hung on a wall. Today’s hunting is not always about being self-sufficient like it was so many years ago.

People who are opposed to hunting often don’t like guns, killing animals, or both. People who are avid hunters believe that having a gun is their right, and so is killing animals, especially if it’s done as humanely as possible. If it came down to having a meal or being hungry, would everyone shoot an animal? Maybe, or maybe not!

Marni and Brian discuss a difficult topic in today’s English lesson about a popular outdoor activity.


Marni: I just was spending time with my friend, and he is an avid hunter. What are your thoughts?
Brian: Oh, hunting? I wish I had that skill, but I am not good around dead animals. I feel like I would be totally unprepared in the apocalypse if it came down to killing an animal.
Marni: He grew up hunting with his family. They lived off the land, they were totally self-sufficient. So he grew up doing it. I’m just so opposed to it. I mean, killing animals for sport? I guess a lot of people do that. He used it as a food source.
Brian: I can imagine using it as a food source. But I can’t even think about touching a carcass or trying to skin it. I don’t even know how to fire a gun, let alone how to load ammunition or anything like that.
Marni: I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I am totally for gun control. A lot of hunters I know actually are.
Brian: It seems unnecessary in this day and age.
Marni: I agree.


Marni was just hanging out with a friend who likes to go hunting. She understands why he does it, but she doesn’t agree with the activity. To Marni, killing animals for sport isn’t OK. Even though her friend hunts for food and not for sport, it still makes her uncomfortable.

Brian’s thoughts on hunting are more about what he can and cannot do with a gun, and less about if hunting is an OK activity. Brian knows that if he needed to kill and eat an animal, using a gun would be a problem. He doesn’t know how to shoot a gun, and he also doesn’t know what to do with the animal after it’s dead.

Marni and Brian both have little experience with hunting… Marni because she believes it’s wrong, and Brian because he has never tried it.

Have you ever gone hunting? Is it OK to kill animals for sport, or only for food?

Grammar Point

Past Progressive Tense

Marni tells Brian that she “was just spending time” with her friend. She uses the past progressive tense.

The past progressive tense (also sometimes called “past continuous”) is formed by using was/were + main verb + ing, as in, “We were eating dinner when the phone rang.”

We use the past progressive tense to talk about actions that were already in progress when another action took place in the past. (At the moment the phone rang, we were already in the process of eating dinner.)

It’s also common to use this tense to talk about two on-going actions that were happening simultaneously in the past, as in, “While Justin Timberlake was finishing his new album, his fans were waiting for it to come out.”

Finally, we can also use this tense to talk about actions in the past that took place over time, as in, “I couldn’t sleep last night because dogs were barking the whole night.”

Which is correct, “I was talked to my brother when I sneezed,” or, “I was talking to my brother when I sneezed”?


  1. How does Marni feel about hunting?

  2. In Brian’s opinion, when is hunting OK?

  3. If you want to go hunting, you must have __.

  4. Which sentence is in past progressive tense?

See the full English lesson at English, baby!