A1/A2 English - Past continuous / Past simple

I play football every week, I am playing football this week. Do you know the difference between these 2 sentences. Let’s find out!

Discover essential A1/A2 English grammar principles on this page, tailored for beginners seeking a solid foundation in language learning

Past simple

We use the past tense to talk about things that happened in the past. For most verbs, we just add –ed to the end. (e.g. play → playedclean→ cleanedwash → washed).

I played football yesterday.
I watched that movie earlier.
I cooked dinner last night.

There are also many irregular verbs, make sure you learn the past tense form of any new verb you learn. (e.g. go → wenteat→ aterun → ran).

I went to Korea last year.
I ran last night.
I slept so much this morning

We only need 1 negative in a sentence to make the whole thing negative. Also, only 1 past tense verb to make the whole sentence negative.

To make a negative sentence, just add didn’t to the infinitive (original) verb.

I didn’t go to the office today.
I didn’t like the food.

Finally, if you want to make a question, add did to question, instead of do. 

Did you run this morning?
Did he do all of his work yesterday?

Past continuous

The past continuous ‘was/were + v-ing’ explains an action in the past, that was being done at a certain time.  (e.g. go → going, play→ playing, run → running)

What was he doing this morning?

He was running.

Here we talk about the time he was doing the running action this morning.

The past continuous also talks about actions that went on for a period of time.

I was sleeping after work.

Past continuous and past simple

We can use the both together, to show something happened while doing another thing.

While I ran, I drank water.

Usually, it shows an interruption in the continuous action.

I ate something when I was cooking.
I was sleeping until I heard the alarm.
The dog was barking when the people came.

I ____ to Thailand last year

I ______ at 8pm.

Did you visit you parents last week?

I ______ when he _____ me?

Your grade is: __

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