Past Simple / Past Continuous
THE PAST SIMPLE
I/ you /he/ she / we / they/ worked* (regular verbs)
went (irregular verbs)
I/you/he/she/we/they didn’t work
Did I/you/he/she/we/they work/go?
Adding the -ed
The general rule: work – worked
a) liked – used – baked (we dropped the final –e)
When the verb finishes in
b) stopped – planned – grabbed
preferred – admitted
However: entered – visited- listened
Pay attention: travelled – programmed
c) carry- carried bury- buried
but play - played
1- We use the Past Simple to express an
action which happened at a specific time in
the past and is now finished.
I saw him last month/ last year/ two years
ago/ yesterday morning / in 1999 / when I
2- We use the Past Simple to tell a story:
There was once a man who lived in a small
house in the country. One day he left his
house and went into town. On the way he
THE PAST CONTINUOUS
FORM: Subject + was/were + ---ing
I / he / she / it was going home
We / you / they were going home
I / he / she / it wasn’t working
We / you / they weren’t working
Where was I/ he / she / it going?
Where were you / we / they going?
Adding the -ing
General rule: listen – listening
A- smoking, coming, writing (we drop the “e”)
We double the last consonant we the verb
B-consonant- stressed vowel- consonant
- running, stopping,
- permitting, beginning,
* travelling, programming
Be careful: studying, playing!!!!
USES OF THE PAST CONTINUOUS:
As with all continuous tenses, there is an idea
of duration and activity in progress over a
period of time:
Compare these TWO sentences:
a) At 10.00 I had a bath.
b) At 10.00 I was having a bath.
1) We use the Past Continuous to express an
activity happening at a particular time in the
What were you doing at 8.00 last night?
I was watching television.
2) It is used to express an activity that is
While I was having a bath, the phone rang.
I met Tim as I was walking to school
The students were working when the
teacher walked in.
3) We can use two continuous tenses for two
actions in progress at the same time.
Lisa was reading quietly while it was raining
4) When we tell a story in the past :
We use the past continuous for description,
and the past simple for action.
I got up early and opened the window. The sun
was shining, the birds were singing..
PAST PERFECT TENSE
Subject + had + past participle
I had lost my job
I hadn’t seen her
Had you heard…?
1) The Past Perfect is used to express an
action that happened before a definite
time in the past:
Ann couldn’t hold back her tears any longer.
She had had a terrible day. She had
been late for work. She had lost her
2) We use the past perfect to describe an
action which happened before another
action also in the past. For example,
I left home very late. When I arrived at the
theatre, the concert had already started.
TIME CLAUSES WITH: when, till, until, as soon as,
- Two past simple tenses can be used if there is an
idea that the second action happened immediately
after the first.
When his flight was announced, he went to the
I sat outside until the sun went down.
- If it is important to show that the first action was
completed before the second one began, the Past
Perfect must be used for the action that happened
When I had finished my homework, I went to bed.
He didn’t leave the house until he had checked that
all the windows were closed.
• I had finished all my homework before I
went to bed.
• By the time I went to bed, I had finished all
• I didn’t go to bed until I had finished all my
• After I had finished all my homework, I went
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