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Past Simple, Past Continuous, Past Perfect


Ex.1 Put the verbs in brackets into the Past Simple or the Past


1. I … (have) dinner when the lights … (go out).

2. Dad … (drive) while Mum … (look at) the map.

3. They ... (walk) in the park when the storm (break).

4. She … (cook) when she …(burn) her finger.

5. When they … (get up) this morning it (rain).

6. James … (watch) television while Sally … (read) a book.

7. While Sam … (play), his mother … (make) lunch.

8. Grandma ... (sit) in the garden when we … (come) home.

9. Ron … (sleep) when someone … (knock) on the door.

10. They … (talk) when the boss … (come).

11. The dog … (eat) a bone while the cat … (chase) a mouse.

12. Dad … (hurt) his finger while he … (work) in the garden.



Ex.2 Compare the use of the Past Simple and the Past Continuous



1. It was a cold winter night. It was snowing hard and I wanted to get

back home quickly.

2. Jack fell off the ladder when he was painting the ceiling.

3. Yesterday evening we waited for him in the office for nearly an hour.

We gave up in the end and went home.

4. What were you doing on the corner last night around 9 o ‘clock? –

I was waiting for a bus to go down town.

5. When I opened the envelope I was delighted to see a picture of

my friend's family.

6. I dropped my bag when I was running for a bus.

7. Peter was wearing a white shirt and grey trousers when I saw him.



Ex.3 Choose between the Past Simple and the Past Continuous



Thomas Edison started/was starting work on the railway when he was twelve, selling newspapers and snacks. There were long periods with nothing for him to do so he built/was building himself a little laboratory in the luggage van where he could carry out experiments when he didn't sell/ wasn't selling things to passengers. Another thing that he occupied/was occupying himself with was reading. He joined a library and read/was reading every single book in it. One day when he waited/was waiting at a station he noticed/was noticing a small boy who played/was playing by the track, unaware that a train approached/was approaching. Edison ran/was running out and grabbed/was grabbing the child just in time. The child's father was so grateful that he offered/was offering to teach Edison to be a telegraph operator. Edison accepted the offer and soon he had/was having regular lessons. After a year, he was good enough to get a job in the telegraph office. He continued to read and experiment, whenever he had/was having time. At twenty-one he left/was leaving the telegraph office to devote all his time to be an inventor. He went/was going to invent the electric light bulb, the phonograph and the movie camera.



Ex.4 Read the following story and complete the tasks below.


Alison decided to go hill walking. She didn't tell anyone where she planned to go. When she reached the top of the first hill she looked for her map. She thought she had packed it in her jacket pocket, but it wasn't there. Suddenly a thick fog came down over the hills, and she couldn't see anything. She tried to find her way home, but she kept coming back to the same place. She was beginning to get very frightened. As she was stumbling along in the fog her foot went down a hole. It hurt terribly and she fainted. She had broken her ankle. Back at home Alison's flat mate, Serena, was getting worried. It was dark and Alison still hadn't come home. Serena was afraid something had happened to her friend. At ten o'clock Serena rang the mountain rescue service.

When Alison woke up it was light and she was freezing cold. She realized she had been there all night. She heard a helicopter and she waved and shouted for help, but it was useless. The search party didn't know where Alison had been. They had searched the whole area and they were exhausted. Just when they had decided to give up and go home, one of them saw a hand waving. It was Alison. She had crawled out of her hole and she was shouting for help. And the moral of the story? Don't forget your map when you go out alone and always tell someone where you are going.


- Underline all the past tense verbs in the story.

- How many past simple verbs are there?

- How many past continuous verbs are there?

Ex.5 Put the verbs in brackets into the Past Continuous

or the Past Simple in the right order.


It (be) a beautiful spring morning when Emma and her father (decide) to visit Seaton Castle. The sun (shine) and the birds (sing). Emma (feel) very excited. The castle (be) very old and made of stone. They (climb)the steps to the top of the tower. While they (admire) the view, they (hear) some noises. They (look) around but they (not/see) anybody. That's funny,' said Emma. 'I (think) I (see) someone standing over there. 'After a while they (decide) to visit the cellar of the castle. Emma (examine) an old barrel when she (hear) the door of the cellar closed behind them. “Dad”, she (say),”don’t close the door! ” But I (not close) it, dear,” her father said. Emma (turn) around and (see) a shadow on the wall. She (know) then that the ghost of Seaton Castle (watch) them!



Ex.6 Combine the two sentences. Use the verb in bold in

the Past Continuous or Past Perfect.



1. They watched TV from 7.00 until 9.00.1 arrived at 7.30.

When I arrived, they ……. TV.

2. He leftthe office at 7.00. She phoned him at 8.00.

When she phoned him, he….. the office.

3. I studied for the exam the night before. The exam didn't go well.

The exam didn't go well although I …… the night before.

4. He cycled to work this morning. In the middle of his journey, he

had an accident.

When he …….. to work this morning, he had an accident.

5. He only had five lessons. He passed his driving test.

When he passed his driving test, he ….. ( only) five lessons.



Ex.7 Complete with the Past Simple, Past Continuous,

or Past Perfect.

We didn't realize that we had been there before, (not realize, be)

1. - How … ? (the accident / happen)

- He … back from Manchester when he … a tree, (drive, hit)

2. I … cooking the meal when they …me to say they couldn't come.

(already / start, call)

3. When I got home I was really tired, so I …a shower and … to bed.

(have, go)

4. I arrived too late. The concert … and my friends …home. (finish, go)

5. The driver … control of his car because he …on his mobile.

(lose, talk)



Ex.8 Write either the Past Simple or Past Continuous form

of the verbs in brackets.


It ( be) 6.15. In the Adelphi Theatre the actors (arrive) for the evening performance. It (raining) outside. Jack Long, the caretaker, ( sweep) the corridor when he (hear) a loud voice. He (look) around. On the stage a young woman ( stand in the darkness, ( speak) loudly. When she ( notice) the caretaker, she ( stop) and ( run) off the stage. 'What (you/do)?' he (shout). The girl (say) , I'm sorry. I (pass) the theatre and the door ( is) open. I've never been on a stage before and I really (want) to try it. I just want to be an actress!


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