Past Continuous and Past Simple:

Today, we are going to learn all about how to talk about things that have occurred in the past. There are many ways to describe things that happened in the past. If something occurred in the past and was simply one action that happened without being continuous, we can use the past simple. Often times, unless verbs are irregular, they are conjugated into the past simple by adding on (ed) to the end of them.

For example:
• Yesterday, I walked home from school

However, if an action is continuous, meaning it occurred for more than just a short period of time, an action that was progressively happening, we will conjugate the verb into the past continuous. To do this we utilize was or were and we add the gerund (ING) onto the end of the verb.

For example:
• Yesterday, I was cooking all day long to prepare for dinner.

The difference is that I was cooking for an extended period of time so therefor it was a continuous action.

We can utilize both of these verb conjugation types together to demonstrate one action that was interrupted by another.

For example:
• I tripped two days ago while I was running.

While I was continuously running, I tripped one time.

We can also utilize two continuous verb conjugations to describe to continuous events happening at the same time. Here are some examples:

• I was brushing my teeth while my sister was combing her hair
• I was drinking a smoothie while watching TV.

Past continuous and past simple quiz

Let’s look at the exercises below to put your new verb conjugation skills to the test! Try to figure out based on context which verbs are continuous and which are past simple hint: look for the words was or were:

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