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PAST SIMPLE

or
PAST CONTINUOUS

The Joy of Teaching


It was ten to twelve in a beautiful Autumn morning. The English teacher came into
the classroom. He was wearing a black shirt and grey trousers. He was carrying his
textbook, the registry notebook, his laptop, a big and heavy sound system. The
pupils were chatting and making a lot of noise. He was used to it. He switched on
the computer, turned on the projector, roll called 38 names and started to teach
the differences between the Past Simple and the Past Continuous. He taught how
to use the auxiliary did while some pupils were talking aloud about their weekend.
He heard two girls gossiping. They were making fun of his chalk stained trousers.
Then he wrote the spelling rules of ing forms, but he saw some students were
using their mobile phones. One of them was laughing at some dumb picture on the
screen. Next, he gave the students some photocopies with exercises to be done
during the class. Five minutes later, he realised no one was doing the exercises. All
of the students were chatting, drawing on the photocopies, browsing the textbook
or even exchanging stupid notes .
Then he shot them. Each and every one.
When the police and the ambulances arrived, he was calmly explaining the Past
Continuous to a silent, peaceful class in a beautiful Autumn morning at IES ALBERO
The pupils werent listening. He was used to it.

The Simple Past

One morning I shot an elephant in my


pyjamas. How he got into my pyjamas I'll
never know. Groucho Marx
I never killed a man, but I read many an
obituary with a great deal of satisfaction.
I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a
nice letter saying that I approved of it.
Mark Twain

The Simple Past


We use the simple past to indicate exactly
when an action or event took place in the
past.

I visited my sister yesterday.


We went out to dinner last night.

Use

a finished action in the past

actions that follow each other in a story

My parents met in 1987. They got married in


1992. I was born in 1996.

Mary walked into the room and stopped.

a past situation or habit

When I was a child, we lived in a small house by


the sea.

Time expressions

last night, last week, last year, last...

two days ago, 25 years ago, a long time ago

yesterday, yesterday morning

In 1962, in September 1996, in the 19th century

On Monday

At 11.30 last night

When I was a child

PAST SIMPLE

Verbs can be:

REGULAR:

I played tennis yesterday. My sister studied in


Harvard University. Our teacher lived in
Australia.

IRREGULAR

She ate a salad last night. My mum bought a new


car. I wore a mini skirt to the party.

If the base verb


ends in:

consonant + vowel +
consonant
and a stressed
syllable

consonant + -e

do this:

And
add

For example:

-ing
-ed

stop > stopping > stopped


begin > beginning
tap > tapping > tapped
But, for example:
open > opening > opened
(because no stress on last
syllable of open)

remove the -e

-ing
-ed

phone > phoning > phoned


dance > dancing > danced
make > making
rake > raking > raked
dye > dying > dyed

change the -ie to -y

-ing

lie > lying


die > dying

nothing

-d

lie > lied


die > died

double the final


consonant

-ie

Forming the simple past tense


(REGULAR VERBS)

We add -ED al verbo:


BOIL BOILED
FILL FILLED

WORK WORKED
WATCH WATCHED

Some exceptions:

Verbs ending in E add D


LIVE LIVED
DATE DATED

Verbs ending in consonant + Y: -ied


TRY
CRY

DANCE DANCED
BAKE
BAKED

TRIED
CRIED

Verbs ending in CVC, double consonant.


TAP TAPPED
COMMIT COMMITTED

(RAIN RAINED)

PAST SIMPLE:
affirmative, negative or interrogative

AFFIRMATIVE:

NEGATIVE:

He painted the wall


We woke up very early

He didnt paint the wall


We didnt wake up very early

INTERROGATIVE:

Did Peter paint the wall?Yes, he did/No, he didnt


Did we wake up very early? Yes, we did/No, we didnt.

Wh- questions

Wh- + did + Subject + Verb + Comp

Where did your parents go last Saturday?


Why did your boyfriend kiss that girl?
When did you arrive home last night?
How many exams did you do last week?
Who did you see at the party?
Who saw you at the party?

Past continuous

I wasn't kissing her, I was


whispering in her mouth. Chico
Marx

The Past Progressive


The past progressive is used to talk about an activity
that was in progress at a specific point of time in the
past. The emphasis is on the duration of the activity
in the past.

I was studying for an exam while my mother was cooking


dinner.
We were walking in the park around 7 p.m. last night.

The Past Progressive


The past progressive is often used with the simple
past to show that one action was in progress when
another action occurred.

I was taking a bath when the doorbell rang.


They were eating dinner when the neighbors stopped by fo
a visit.

Form

Subject + Was / were + verb + -ing

They were driving to Paris.


We werent waiting for a long time.
What were they doing?
Our teacher was wearing a blue jacket.
My mum wasnt sleeping when I arrived.
Why were you crying when I saw you?

If the base verb


ends in:

consonant + vowel +
consonant
and a stressed
syllable

consonant + -e

do this:

And
add

For example:

-ing
-ed

stop > stopping > stopped


begin > beginning
tap > tapping > tapped
But, for example:
open > opening > opened
(because no stress on last
syllable of open)

remove the -e

-ing
-ed

phone > phoning > phoned


dance > dancing > danced
make > making
rake > raking > raked
dye > dying > dyed

change the -ie to -y

-ing

lie > lying


die > dying

nothing

-d

lie > lied


die > died

double the final


consonant

-ie

PAST CONTINUOUS:
affirmative, negative or interrogative

AFIRMATIVA:

NEGATIVA:

He was painting the wall


We were waking up very early

He wasnt painting the wall


We werent waking up very early

INTERROGATIVA:

Was he painting the wall?


Were we waking up very early?

Use

to express activities in progress before, and


probably after, a particular time in the past

for descriptions

Lynn looked beautiful.She was wearing a green


dress. She was dressed to kill!

to express an interrupted past activity

I was sleeping when you phoned me. It was 3 a.m!!!

When the phone rang, I was having a shower.

to express an incomplete activity

I was reading a book during the flight.

PAST SIMPLE AND PAST


CONTINUOUS

WHEN + AN ACTION THAT INTERRUPTS ANOTHER LONGER ACTION


John was watching TV when his friend arrived.

When the teacher came into the classroom, everybody was dancing.

I was smoking when my mum entered my bedroom.

WHILE + LONGER ACTION IN THE PAST CONTINUOUS


While / as I was talking on the phone, the doorbell rang .

My friends arrived while my dad was sleeping a siesta. He shouted


at them!

Past simple or continuous?

Sometimes both tenses are possible. The


Past Simple focuses on past actions as
complete facts.
The Past Continuous focuses on the
duration of past activities

Compare :

A: I didnt see you at the party last night.


B: No. I stayed at home and watched the football match.
A: I didnt see you at the party last night.
B: No, I was watching the football at home.
I lived in New York for two years. I met my girlfriend
there. When I was living in Manhattan I found a job as a
teacher.
My sister studied History in Cambridge University. She
met most of her friends while she was studying there.

When you tell a story, important facts are


expressed in the Past Simple, general situation
and descriptions in the Past Continuous.
-It was a beautiful day. The sun was shining and
flags were flying high everywhere. Obama felt
confident. He spoke to the people in the
stadium. They were looking at him anxiously.
- Peter saw Susan at the party. She was
wearing a beautiful blue dress. Everybody was
dancing and having a good time.

An old pirate was sitting in the bar. He was smoking


a pipe and drinking a glass of rum. He was wearing
an eye patch and he had a parrot on his shoulder
and a wooden leg. Instead of his right hand he had a
metal hook. A young sailor was chatting with the pirate
and he asked him about his adventures at sea.
So, how did you lose your leg?, the young man asked the pirate.
Arrr! , said the pirate, You see, some sharks were circling the ship
when I fell overboard. Luckily, my men pulled me back onto the ship
before the sharks ate me completely, but one of the sharks got
my leg.

And how about the hook on your hand? How did you lose your
hand?
I was boarding a ship when another sailor cut off my hand with
a sword.
Thats amazing! What a life full of adventures! said the young
man. And how about your eye? How did you lose that?
I was eating a grapefruit when the juice went into my eye.
But I dont understand. How did you lose your eye from the
grapefruit juice?

Arrr! said the pirate, it was


my first day with the new
hook.

A SPOOKY STORY
It was just before midnight on October 31st
last year. Susan Lee was driving home after
visiting her sister. The road was clear and
she was driving carefully. Suddenly, out of nowhere,a young
man stepped out in front of her. He was wearing a dark
coloured raincoat and carrying a backpack. Susan stepped hard
on the brake pedal but it was too late. She got out of the car
but, to her surprise, there was nobody there. While she was
looking under the car, she felt a cold wind on her face and a
strange presence that sent shivers down her spine.

She was still looking under her car when a lorry stopped behind
her. The lorry driver, a middle-aged man, walked up to her and
asked her if she needed help to start her car so she told him
what had happened. He didnt seem surprised when Susan told
him about the young man. 'In October 1978, there was a car
accident on this road and a
hitchhiker was fatally run over.
You're not the first to have seen his
ghost here', he said in a mysterious
tone.