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Past continuor-ls or sirnple?

A
-l'h,-' plst corrtirrrrorrs
Look
this questior and ansvrrr: Alice: I rang yesterday, but 'tou wcrcil't in. Were you playing tetmis? Davc: No, I was hclping Bob. Ite werc working on ltis car. I tuasn't playing yesterday
ac

Thc past continuons


|

is the ;)asr rensc oCbc

+ thc ing-forr:r;

workin g I/he/sbe/it \ /asn't workitrg was he/she/it worldng?


/ hc / sbc / it was

you/wc/they wcrc workicg y ou / w c/ rhcy weren' t workin g were you/we/rhey working?

We use the past continuotts to say that rve were in the nridd'rc oflap acrion.
B

orrtirrtrt>rrs or sirnplc?

Lcok at chis paragraph: It was a louely day, and the.sutt was shining. I was walking across rhefck{ when I saw a platte. It waslying very low- It was nuking d slrange noise, and I knew'there was a probletn. lt canre dowtt itt tlrc nextfeld, and I heard a crash. I ran to the uillage and phonedfor help.
Compare:
'We
PAS'| CONTINUOUS
PAST SIMi'LE

use the past continuous to say that wc

'We

use the past sinrple for a conrplcre acrion


across

werc in the middle ofan actiorr: I was wqlkirg across the_fic[rl. ( I was in thefeld.)
1-|rc plane

in the pasr: I walkzd

thefeld.

waslying

very lotu.

(I crossed it completely.) The plrine crashed in afeld.

Wc ofi-en usc tltc

past contirrtlotrs

to dcscribc clrc backgrotrncl arrcl thc p:rst sirrrplc {-or t[rc .rctiorrs irr

a.story: Tltc sun was shining. . . . I ratt to the village. Thc crou,ds were waiting. . . .'['|rc Princcss arrtvcd.

Verbs of thinking a.nd feeling rnd st.atc verbs are usuaily sirnple, not collcirluous. (For more dccails
see (Jr-rit 3.)

I thought evcrythingwas OK. .I kncu' thcre tuas a problern.

We lil:ed thtf,lm. Mr Youttg once du,lcd

the

etd

Llsc [hc past continutotts atrti sirrrplc togcthcr wl'rcp a sIortcr actic, iltcrruptccl onc (canre in thc nriddlc of it): t.fcll ttslrcy tririlc I ruas rt,arcltittq tclcuisiot't.

Wc oltcn

lorrgcr
:

IrVt were sitGug itt lhc gar'lctr tvhttt it suddcnly stqrte d lo roitt

'l1tc pltonc r,tttp tultilc Cury'rro, tttaking lurtch.

Lorigcr action:
S[rorrcr action:

.;1:

Wc

lcr onc xctiorl aftcr anothcr: to tlrt villagc. (= I lrcard it and thcrt I rarr.) ratt I Lfit:tt I hcard tlrc crttsh,
usc t\\/o pe:it sirtrplc vcrtrs

(,

SIMPLE PAST
(a) (b)
(c

lwathed to school Yesierday. He livdin Paris for ten years, but now he is living in
Rome.

The simple past indicares that an activity or situation began and endcd a a patticular
time in the past-

' )
)

I 6o..tfir a ncw car three daYs


880'

(d

I srood under r tree ohen it began to roin'

[f'a

sentence contains ofrsr

end has the simple pasr in


both clauses, the action in the
"rashrlr clause" happens first. In (O: lst: The rain began.

(e) (f
')

Wknduhecrdastange
naise' she Whcn cof{ee

Pr

uP to

investigate.

I &oPPdnY cry, the


tPilld
on mY IaP.

2nd: I stqod tmder a tree.

PAST PR.OGRESSTVE
(g (h

) I ular rucllig

down the street whcn it bcgan to rein. down lhe street, it began to rain.

In (g): lsr: I wrs walking


dowo the street.

) Whilc I rrro urtrAirg

(i

I toar stodin3under
when it began to rain.

ree

2nd: It began to rain. In other *'ords, both ections occutred rt thc aamr dme, but otre aciroa bega,n earltr

a*d

tl,os

,n

(i
(k

) At eight o'clock last night, I )


u:as tard3rilq. t sst year at this time, I ecs aaetding school.

athq actiort occuttcdIn 0): My studying beian before 8:00, wes in protress at thlt dsre, end probrbly continued.
Sometimes the pest progressive ie used in both partt o( i

plogr?ss uhan .tht

( I ) Yhilc I tmr rruderg ia one room o[ our tgafttaent, my


roommate

ertt

Actk

parry in the other room.

sentence when tivo rctioss are in progress simultaneously.

(m) It rci,rcd this morning. ( n ) It raar raiaiag this morning.

some cases, the simPle past and the past progressive give slnaosl the seme mernin& .s in (m) and (n)-

In

EXERCISE

2{:
l,

Ue thc SIII{PLE

PAST or thc PAST PR.OCR.ESSIVE in 'Jre foi}owing-

I am sitting in class righr now. I


exact sarre time YexerdaY.

(n,

tffir lld*trf

in clasc 8r lhis

2. I don't want

to go lo the zoo

tday

becausc it is raining. The same thin&

happenctl yestertlay. I (toant,


becau$e it (rain)

nor) --

--

'

to go to rhc zoo

3. I (rclD
a( the litrrary

at h('me. IIe (stud-y)

Roger at nine last night. hut he (6e, ror)

,1. I (At'cr

rr.'r)-----

='-.--

the rhunder during the stornr last

5. It

was trcauri[ul yesterday rvhcn we went for a rvalk in the park..'l-he sun

(shine)

A ccrol breezc (btou't

]'he birds (sing)

6.

lVty brother and sister

(orge)
into the room.

ahout somethin.q

when I (walh)

,J

I got

a packagc in the

mail !7hen I (qfiez)


a snrPrrse

it,

(find)

- 8. 'lirmmy went to his fricnd::'

house. hut the hoys (6r. nol)

there--'l'hcy (play)
the vacanl lot down the street.

---:-*rhe slairs when he (rnD) , Luckilv. he (f,rrrt. noio

soccer in

9- Stanlcy

(rlrnrh)
himsclI

and ([allY.

"--

- --

I0. While Mrs.


hc ([al{\

Emcrson

(rc,arD
aslcen. so she
(c/o.se)

thc

littk

hoy a story,

rhc hrrok and quictly iriproe)


I

oul of the roomlast January.

l. I realty enioyed my vrcation


Florida. Whilc yorr (shorel'l

lfhile it (-rnmu)
snor*'in lowe. I (lic)

--,--.

on thc beach in Florida

I2- Whilc 'led (showl)


ye

snow from his driveway

sterdry, his wife

(lring) ,

him

a cup o[ hot

ch<rcolate. i

7
ITXerctses

'IIre past (:orltinirotrs (A)


Complctc thc convcrsirion. Put in a past concinuous [onn ot'tli,: vcrb on tllc riglrr. Jcrcmy: I'm a[r:rid I'r,c brokcrr this dish. ) Sue: Oh no! V,'hat I Jcrctrrlr; I2 --- it inro rlte clipipg-ro:rm. i -1-bun-rpre d intr: Ernnla. Shc our jursr as
---___-'Ilrnma: [t vras your fauk. You s
6

.4 r

1 you do ) ..1- ^ 3 cc.lrrc


d ort

ltl-

You
wl:ere you

5 drcanr 6 not look 7gu

Past continuous or sirnple? (B)


Put in rire past continuous or past simple. ICrn: I hear rhe lights o_-r,ettt our lasc night, . Cirarles: Yes, I D_g2g5 watchin;1. television at tlre tinre. The prografflrrle l--intercsting, coo. But tlie elcctricity 2 on again afrer abour ten minures. I 3 vcry nruch of ir. Angela: Sar:air a dt-:wn the stair: rvhen rhe lights u,r:ht out. S[re ,rlmost s _ over. Tom and I 6 tabie tennis ac the tirne. Jessica: Peter: I7-at ITry compuccr. V/hen it
9

ogo o r,,.a ccli


cornc not miss -{ conie

2 3

r 5ll

vrork and

o-

ro bcd.

5 i:il 6 piay 7 rvork 8 liappen 9 stop 10 go

Past continuous or sirnp)e? (B) Find the second part of t:acir scntcnce. Put each verb in brackets into rhe pasc conri*Lrous or past simplc. fl I (drcarn) +-----she (fcci) a suddcn pain in lrer back. 'When D Mrry (scc) thr: qrrcstion, whc:.r she (drivc) on rhc moronvay. 1 The train (wair) rvlre n I (find) a {1A norc berrveen nvo paqes 2 Ella (have) a punctLlre the crorvd ('rvalk) in. ' 3 'When I (tf") thc prrdding, slrc (knorv) clrc arrswer. rvlrcrr tlrc alarnr clock (ring). 4 Wlicn I(aren (iifc) the chair, ,., 5 WIie n thc gatcs (opcn) , I (likc) it. ,.r'hcn we (arrivc) ar the sration. 6 t (rcad) a library book

n Jtuas d rc a m irgyleuL hc-ainm,sipt*-ru:Sn WAuMuy-say,Llte-question. slrc kneru tltc arlsJuet.


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