Past simple and past continuous
- PDF worksheets
- Online exercises
- Grammar rules PDF
English grammar books PDF
PDF book 1: English grammar exercises PDF
PDF book 2: English grammar rules PDF
Past simple + past continuous PDF exercises
Past simple vs. past continuous:
Past simple and continuous PDF exercise 1
- A multiple choice test.
Past simple and continuous PDF exercise 2
- Find mistakes and correct them.
Past simple and continuous PDF exercise 3 (negative)
- Make negative sentences.
Past simple and continuous PDF exercise 4 (questions)
- Make questions with verbs in brackets.
Past simple and continuous PDF exercise 5 (story, part 1)
- Complete a story. (James and the dog on the road.)
Past simple and continuous PDF exercise 6 (story, part 2)
- Make negative sentences. (Correct the wrong information about the story.)
Past simple and continuous PDF exercise 7 (story, part 3)
- At the police station. (Make the policeman's questions about the story.)
Online exercises with answers:
Past simple and continuous exercise 1 A multiple choice test.
Past simple and continuous exercise 2 Complete the story about James and the dog.
Past simple and continuous exercise 3 Make the policeman's questions about James and the dog.
Past simple and continuous exercise 4 Make negative forms.
Past simple and continuous exercise 5 Correct mistakes in sentences.
Past simple and continuous exercise 6 Complete a dialogue about a car accident.
Grammar rules PDF:
Past simple and continuous rules PDF
Tenses PDF Grammar rules with examples on all English tenses.
English grammar PDF All PDF grammar rules on this website.
Past simple vs. past continuous
Learn the difference between the past simple and past continuous tense.
Past simple tense
1. We use the past simple for activities or situations that were completed at a definite time.
a) The time can be given in the sentence:
I came home at 6 o'clock. When he was a child, he didn't live in a house.
b) The time is asked about:
When did they get married?
c) The time is not given in the sentence, but it is clear from a context that the action or situation was finished.
He is 20 years old. He was born in Canada.
Alan: I've been to Iceland. - Greg: Did you enjoy it?
2. We use it for repeated activities.
We walked to school every day. - And did you ever go by bus?
3. The past simple is used in stories to describe events that follow one after the other.
Charles entered the hall and looked around. He took off his coat and put it on a chair. He was at home.
Past continuous tense
We use the past continuous for activities or situations that were not completed.
The sun was setting. The beach was changing its colours. (The sun was still in the sky when I was watching it.)
Finally, the sun set. It was dark. (The sun disappeared.)
We use the past continuous for uninterrupted activities or situations. If the action is interrupted (something is done in more intervals or we did more things one after another), we use the simple.
Tom was watching TV at 10 o'clock.
Tom watched TV in the morning and in the evening.
The past continuous is typically used:
1. To express the idea that an action in the past continuous started before the action expressed by the past simple and continued after it.
When she saw me, I was looking at the trees. (These two actions happened at the same time.)
When she saw me, I looked at the trees. (These two actions happened one after another. First she saw me and then I looked at the trees.)
2. With a point in time to describe an action that started before that time and continued after it.
At 8 o'clock Jane was doing her homework. (At 8 o'clock she was in the middle of the activity.)
At 8 o'clock Jane did her homework. (She started the activity at 8 o'clock.)
3. It is used to describe a situation, while the simple is used to express actions in stories.
The sun was shining. Jack was reading a book and Jill was sleeping. All of a sudden, Jack raised his head. Jill woke up. Something happened.
4. It describes an activity which was not finished in contrast with the simple past, which describes a completed activity.
I was reading a book yesterday. And today I am going to continue.
I read the book yesterday. I can lend it to you now.
5. It can be used to show a more casual action, the simple is for a deliberate action:
I was talking to my neighbour yesterday. We had a nice chat. (I did not do it on purpose. We just met in the street.)
I talked to my neighbour yesterday. And he promised to help me. (I did it on purpose. I needed to ask him for help.)