Past Continuous – English Grammar Exercise

Past continuous is formed with the verb “to be” + gerund (ing). Here is an example with the verb “to eat

Past continuous can be used to talk about events in the past in these situations:

  • To show an event that started in the past and was still happening after another event began

She was baking a cake when the phone rang.

  • To show something that continued over some time

They were shouting.

  • To explain something that happened repeatedly in the past

They were playing football every week, three times a week.

Try the exercise below and fill in the blanks with the past continuous!

Ex: He was walking (walk) in the park when it started to rain.

Past Continuous

Fill in the blanks with the past continuous.

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Present Perfect VS. Past Simple

We should use the past simple for events that happened in the past, and don’t have any connection to the present.

She went to the store yesterday.

I ate dinner at a restaurant last night.

We can use present perfect for past actions that DO have a connection with the present, or for actions that are still happening now.

He has known Bob for 10 years.

We have been to Paris twice.

We CAN’T use the present perfect with time words that show a finished action. Ex: yesterday, last week, last year. We MUST use the simple past.

She has been to the mountains yesterday. INCORRECT

She went to the mountains yesterday.
CORRECT

Try this exercise to test your skills and let us know what you think about the Present Perfect and the Past Simple tenses. Do you find them hard? Let us know what you think in the comments, and make sure to check out our other blog posts and English exercises!

Present Perfect VS Past Simple exercise

Choose the past simple or the present perfect tense.

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Present Continuous Future

Most of the time, we use the present continuous to talk about actions that are happening at the time of speaking. However, it is also extremely common to use it to talk about the future. Not everything in the future, though!

We use the present continuous to explain things that are pre-planned.

Because we also use this tense to speak in the present, it is necessary to add a time reference when speaking in the future.

For example:

I’m taking the train (right now)
I’m taking the train next week (in the future)

We can also use them in the same sentence to refer to different times!

For example:

Kelly is attending a course right now and later she’s going to the cinema, so she won’t be free all day.

As you may know, we can also use ‘going to + infinitive’ instead of the present continuous to speak in the future tense.

For example:

Next week I’m visiting my parents
Next week I’m going to visit my parents

They mean the same thing!

The structure of the present continuous is relatively simple; we take the verb ‘to be’ (am/are/is) + verb + -ing.

To form the negative, we just add the word ‘not’ before the verb.

For example:

I’m going to the restaurant tonight/I’m not going to the restaurant tonight

As always in English, the question form is a little bit trickier. The verb ‘to be’ goes at the start of the sentence…

For example:

Are you joining us at the gym tonight?
Is she coming to the party on Saturday?

As mentioned, the present continuous future is only used for planned events, or something you’re about to start doing (I’m going to bed, I’m going for a shower), so it would be impossible to use it with things you can’t predict.

For example:

It’s raining next month
My arm is hurting tomorrow

Unless you can control the weather or you plan on walking into a wall, of course!

So now you’ve learnt about the present continuous future, why not take our quiz and see how much you remember..?

Present Continuous Future Exercise

Complete the sentences with the correct form of the verb in brackets.