Simple Past vs. Past Continuous : Simple Past vs. Past Continuous When do we use
each tense? Slide 2: Use the simple past for:
1) action that happened in the past and is . . .
over, done, finished Use the past continuous for:
action that was in progress at a specific point in the past OR
2) focusing on an action that continued for a long time in the past Examples . . . Slide 3: Simple Past (Examples)
Action that was completed in the past:
Tom went fishing last week.
I worked until 2:00 p.m. yesterday.
My family came to visit me last year.
*Time Expressions frequently used with the simple past:
yesterday, last ______,
past dates (in 1990), _____ ago, etc. Slide 4: Past Continuous (Examples)
Action that was in progress at a particular point in the past:
At 2:00 yesterday, Tom was playing soccer.
Sophia wasn’t home last night when I called her. I think she was working.
Lisa and her husband were visiting us last week. Slide 5: Grammar Structure:
Here are some reminders about how to make the simple past and past continuous: The simple past: structure : The simple past: structure English has two types of verbs in the past tense: taught
did regular regular regular regular irregular irregular irregular irregular Look at the following list of past tense verbs…
which verbs are regular, and which are irregular? Regular verbs
Irregular verbs For regular verbs, simply use the –ed form of the verb in a positive sentence. : For regular verbs, simply use the –ed form of the verb in a positive sentence. When I was a child, I ___________ the piano.
Donna ______________ and _______________ in Paris when she was younger. played lived studied **Be careful with
spelling changes! For irregular verbs, use the correct past tense form in positive sentences. : For irregular verbs, use the correct past tense form in positive sentences. Last week, I ___________ you a letter.
The students _____________ a speech in English. They __________ a great job! Unfortunately, these forms must be memorized! sent gave did The verb BE : The verb BE Remember the forms of verb BE for the simple past tense:
I, He, She, It WAS
They, We, You WERE Simple Past (Negative) : Simple Past (Negative) For all verbs (EXCEPT be), use: didn't simple form
of VERB + Examples . . . Slide 11: 1) Sara worked yesterday.Sara didn’t work yesterday.2) They had an argument.They didn’t have an argument.3) Sam took classes last year.Sam didn’t take classes last year.4) I learned how to sew.I didn’t learn how to sew. Slide 12: VERB BE (Negative)
For this verb ONLY, never use didn’t. Simply ADD the word NOT after the verb.
I was tired. I was NOT tired.
She was here. She was NOT here.
They are happy. They are NOT happy. The Past Continuous: : The Past Continuous: Don’t forget that VERB BE is part of this structure.
I, He, She, It WAS
You, We, They WERE verb
-ING + Slide 14: Examples:
My mom was trying to call me last night, but I wasn’t home.
The kids were studying last night at 9:00.
I was cleaning my house all day yesterday. Slide 15: Past Continuous (Negative)
For this tense, simply ADD the word NOT after the verb BE.
They were arguing last night.
They were NOT arguing last night.
She was yelling at me.
She was NOT yelling at me. Slide 16: Important Note about
Some verbs are NOT typically used in the continuous tense. Instead, we prefer to use these verbs in the simple tenses (simple present or past).
These verbs are called STATIVE (or non-action) verbs. Here are some examples:
want like love hate
know need see hear
believe understand have (possession)
forget remember belong Slide 17: Examples:
I liked Rome.
NOT: I was liking Rome.
She had a headache.
NOT: She was having a headache.
I knew the answer.
NOT: I was knowing the answer. _____________ _____________ _____________ Slide 18: Using both tenses together:
Sometimes we use both the simple past and the past continuous together to mean . . .
That one action (simple past) interrupted a continuing action (past continuous) Examples . . . Slide 19: Dan burned his hand while he was cooking dinner.
=in the middle of cooking dinner, he burned his hand.
2. When Helen called, we were having dinner.
=in the middle of eating dinner, Helen called. continuing action = past continuous interrupting action = simple past Slide 20: We can use 2 verbs in past continuous to say that two actions were happening simultaneously in the past:
Ex. Jim was at the park. He was sitting on the grass and reading. Slide 21: For more practice . . .
1) Go to our class website:
2) On the right side, click on Grammar Site. Then click on 330.
3) Click on Grammar, and then go down the page to Verbs. Click on activities for Simple Past and Past Continuous.
These activities give excellent
explanation and practice. Slide 22: And . . .
Remember to ask your teacher or another classmate if you need help.
Your teacher can give you more explanation, examples, and exercises if you need them.