LESSON 6: Past simple vs. past continuous (revision and exercise)

This lesson focuses on the past simple and the past continuous (progressive) tenses. The examples and the following exercise will help you to revise the most basic distinctions between these two tenses. 


As you remember, we use the past simple tense while talking about

  • Actions which started and finished in the past, e.g. “After work she went shopping”
  • Habits in the past, e.g. “Every time the weather was nice he went for a walk”
  • Permanent states in the past, e.g. “We lived in Kraków”
  • Quick short actions which took place one after another, e.g. “He got up, took a shower and ate some breakfast.”


When it comes to past continuous, we use it while speaking about

  • Actions that were in progress at a certain moment in the past, e.g. “Yesterday at 9 o’clock I was learning English”, “I was waiting there for him to come”, “He was just preparing to leave when the doorbell rang.”
  • Changing situations in the past, e.g. “Fears were growing that the war might break out”
  • The background in a story


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