Elo Kasia

Director at Eloquent - A Professional Education Company
Professional English Training Center Located In UK.
Strategy Partner of Chatsifieds.com
www.eloquentlearning.com

When to use Past Simple Tense and Past Continuous Tense | English Time Ask Elo

by Jun 19, 2019English Grammar Tips, English Time Ask Elo

When to use Past Simple Tense and Past Continuous Tense | English Time Ask Elo

 

Elo Kasia

 

English Time Ask Elo (18/06/2019)

 

 

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When to use Past Simple Tense and Past Continuous Tense | English Time Ask Elo

 

Asked by @ Aldrin Dela Cruz (Community Leaner)

 

When to use Past Simple Tense and Past Continuous Tense | English Time Ask Elo

 

Answered by @ Elo Kasia

 

Elo Kasia is the English Mentor for  When to use Past Simple and Past ContinuousEnglish Grammar and Speaking Academy”  now.

 

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When to use Past Simple and Past Continuous | English Time Ask Elo

 

 
 

 

🤔 Question Time: Talking about the past – Past Continuous Tense | English Time Ask Elo

 

 

🙏 @ Aldrin Dela Cruz, Thank you for your question.

 

😀 As usual, I will try to explain the difference using simple language and plenty of examples.

 
 
 
 
Past Simple is the second most popular tense (after Present Simple) and is the most popular tense used to talk about the past.
 
 
These are the most common situations when we use Past Simple:
 
  1. To talk about habits in the past, which are no longer true (similar to “used to”). To make it clear that we are talking about a habit, we often add expressions such as: always, often, usually, never, when I was a child, when I was younger, etc.
 
Ex. I went to see a film last night. (go-went)
 
 
2. To talk about a series of completed actions in the past. These actions happen 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and so on. It is often used when we tell a story about something that happened.
 
Ex. He arrived from the airport at 8:00, checked into the hotel at 9:00, and met the others at 10:00.
 
 
3. To talk about events which lasted for some time in the past, but are now finished ie. for two years, for five minutes, all day, all year, etc.
 
Ex. I lived in the United States for two years.
 
 
4. To talk about habits in the past, which are no longer true (similar to “used to”). To make it clear that we are talking about a habit, we often add expressions such as: always, often, usually, never, when I was a child, when I was younger, etc.
 
 
Ex. I studied French when I was at university.
 
 
Past Continuous, on the other hand is used to show that a specific past action was happening, or was in progress at a specific moment in the past.
 
 
1. It is used to stress that the action took some time, or that we were in the middle of doing something at a particular moment in the past.
 
  • Were you watching TV at 8 p.m. last night? Yes, I was.
  • Yesterday at this time, Marie was studying for her test.
 
 
2. It can be also used to show that two actions were happening or were taking place at the same time.
 
  • I was doing my nails while he was making dinner.
  • They were talking while I was reading my book.
  • Past Continues and Past Simple together
 
 
But the two tenses are quite often used together in one sentence to show two actions.
 
The first action is a long action – it lasted for a period of time. We therefore use the past continuous.
 
The second action is a short action that has interrupted the first. So, for this we need past simple!
 
  • I was watching television when he arrived.
  • The children were playing in the park when it started to rain.
  • We were going shopping when we bumped into an old friend of ours.
  • He was reading a book when he came across an idiom he didn’t know.
  • She arrived when I was having a shower so I didn’t hear the doorbell.
 
 
We can also ask questions about what somebody was in the middle of doing when something else happened.
 
 
It is sometimes used to talk about some important event and we want to know what somebody was doing at that time.
 
  • What were you doing when the earthquake started?
  • A police officer might ask:
  • What were you doing when you saw the accident?
  • Were you driving your car when you heard the gunshots?
  • Now, compare these two questions:
  • What were you doing when the earthquake started? – you are interested what someone was in the middle of doing.
  • I was driving to work.
  • What did you do when the earthquake started? – you are interested what someone did after the earthquake started
  • I followed everybody to the nearest emergency exit.
 
 
Follow our *TT exercises to get plenty of practice of these two tenses and you will learn them in no time.
 

 

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When to use Past Simple and Past Continuous Elo Kasia is the Community Mentor for English Grammar and Speaking Academy”  and Director at Eloquent Learning Online School www.eloquentlearning.com.

 

Elo Kasia

Director at Eloquent Learning - A Professional Education Company Located In UK. , Strategy Partner of Chatsifieds.com

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