Past Continuous and Past Simple
We use the past continuous to describe an action that occurred in the past that was continuous. We use the past simple to talk about an event that finished, that the action was past. Let’s look at two sentences.
・I read a book.
・I was reading a book.
The second is an example of the past continuous and is different from the simple past in that it shows we were doing something, were in the middle of something at that time. Often these two type of sentences are used to show when a change occurs,
・Bob started to cook when the guests arrived.
・Bob was cooking when the guests arrived.
This contrasts show a sequence of events and is useful in describing when past events happened. In the first the guests arrived then Bob started to cook. In the second Bob was already cooking when the guests arrived. Let’s try changing some sentences to different tenses.
Simple to continuous;
e.g. What did you do? – What were you doing?
1. I ate the cake. –
2. They played tennis all afternoon. –
3. I didn’t study earlier. –
4. Where did you go? –
Now lets describer actions that happened together using the change in tenses from past simple to past continuous or from past simple to past continuos;
e.g. read a book + fall asleep = I was reading a book when I fell asleep.
1. Study Japanese + the power went out =
2. Play football + I broke my leg =
3. Heart attack + eat a hamburger =
4. Live alone + write a novel =
Let me know how you get on!