Past Simple and Past Continuous Rules, Exercises and Quizzes - English
This post will look at when to use the past continuous and the past simple. It will give you a summary of the two tenses together along with some interesting ways to to help you to try and remember when to use them. I have also included some exercises and a quizz to help you practice.
For a detailed look at how the Past Simple is formed you can see this here - Past Simple
For a detailed look at how the Past Continuous is formed you can see this here. This also includes when not to use it - Past ContinuousPast Simple
1. The past simple is used for completed actions in the past at a specific time. This specific time might or might not be mentioned.
2. It is used for a duration that starts and stops in the past.
3. It is used for habits in the past.
Advanced note: This is similar to 'used to' e.g. I used to play football everyday
4. It is also used for past facts or generalizations.
1. Action in progress at a specific time in the past.
Extra Note: A good example of this on television is when you hear the police interview a suspect, 'What were you doing on the night of the murder?'
2. Two actions that were happening at the same time.
1. Interrupted actions.
The past continuous is used to show that a longer action in the past was interrupted by another action (past simple). Notice the use of 'when'
2. The Past Continuous is used to give the background of an action, followed by the Past Simple to show what actions followed.
1. Answer the following questions;
What did you do last night?
2. Finish the following statements
I was walking by the river when..
Past Simple and Continuous QUIZ - Test your knowledge of the Past Simple and Past ContinuousIf you need help on your pronunciation of the past simple - Past Simple Pronunciation for Regular Verbs
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jack Askew is the head teacher and founder of jdaenglish.com - English by Skype, which offers private English one to one classes and group courses. All of the classes are online and are a great way to improve English speaking, listening, reading, writing and grammar skills. You can also see more blogs like these at Online Pronunciation Blog