What does “were engaged” mean?


The adjective engaged can mean busy or occupied. For example:

  • I’m sorry but Professor McKinny is engaged at the moment, he cannot take your call.
  • The directors are engaged right now, they are discussing future projects and are very busy.
  • The students are engaged by their test, they haven’t said a word since the test began.

Engaged can also be used when somebody has agreed to marry. Here are some examples:

  • You brother is engaged! He proposed to Bianca last night.
  • Are have been engaged for two years, when are they going to get married?
  • I am engaged, I will marry my fiancé next summer.

Were is the Past Simple of the verb “to be” therefore were engaged talking about something that happened in the past but is over now.
Let’s look at this more closely with some examples:

  • The construction workers were so engaged in their work that they didn’t how the accident happened.
  • The children were engaged in their game until it started to rain and they had to go inside.
  • She was so engaged in her assignment that she didn’t hear the doorbell ring downstairs.
  • They were engaged but they decided they wanted different things in life and called off the wedding.
  • We were engaged for a long time before we finally married.
  • I was engaged for a while but I’m not anymore.
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