Past Simple Vs Past Continuous


IN YOUR LANGUAGE (Top right > Select language > Click on the flags).

In this free Grammar lesson you will access:

    1. Grammar Video Tutorial on the Past Simple Vs Past Continuous tense
    2. Objectives of the Lesson
    3. Transcript of the Video in English
    4. Today’s vocabulary List of Key Words
    5. Grammar Quizzes on : (3 to complete)
      I) Mark the Words
      II) Drag the Words
      III) Fill in the blanks

I – Grammar Video Tutorial

Grammar Lesson on the difference between Past Simple Vs Past Continuous.

II – Objectives of the Lesson

Today’s learning goals:

In this lesson, Learn English with Julia presents to you “Past Simple Vs Past Continuous”, in order for you to:

  • Understand the difference between the Past Simple and Past Continuous.
  • Gain practice with exercises with answers.
  • Use new Past Simple and Past Continuous activities.
  • Learn the signal words that work with the Past Simple and others that work with the Past Continuous.


III – Video Transcript

Hello! Now let’s look when to use the Past Simple Vs the Past Continuous.

The Past Simple is formed by taking a bare infinitive or an infinitive without “to” and adding “-ED” to the end.

However there are many irregular verbs and some regular verbs also have spelling changes before adding the “-ED” to them.

  • I listen : I listened > we add the “-ED”
  • I complete > I remove the silent e before adding the “-ED” > I completed
  • And an regular verb such as “teach” becomes “taught”

Now we use the Past Simple for finished actions.
i.e. I booked my flights yesterday.

For actions in a certain moment, at a certain time in the past.
i.e. I spoke to him an hour ago.

Or when we are referring to a specific action or event.
i.e. I went to the US last summer.

We can also use it for a series of events.
i.e. First I did this then I did that…

When do we use the Past Continuous or Past Progressive?

First of all how is it formed? We use the auxiliary “to be”, in the past simple “was” or “were”, and we add the present participle or “-ing form”:

i.e. I was listening, you were swimming.

So please watch the video on the spelling of the Present Participle or “-ing form”

  • We use this tense when we want to focus on the length of the action.
  • When this action is happening in the middle of something else.
  • When it also takes place at a particular moment in time in the past.

So here are a few examples containing the signal words “when” or “while”

I was reading when you rang.
They were sleeping when we were driving.

Be careful here because depending on the tense you choose, where the Past Simple or Past Continuous, these two options mean two very different things.

When I arrived you were preparing lunch.

That means that when the person arrived the other person was already preparing lunch, the second option however means that the arrival prompts the other action.

When I arrived you prepared lunch – you started preparing lunch only when I had arrived.

So be careful there, get some practice and thanks for watching!

'The verb to be or not to be, that is the question.' (Hamlet)Click To Tweet


IV – List of Key Words


Key Words listed in English:

    • past continuous or past progressive
    • simple past or past simple
    • past tenses
    • past participle
    • present participle or “-ing form”
    • -ED endings (spelling and pronunciation)
    • irregular verbs


V – Grammar Quizzes (3 grammar quizzes to complete)

Practice of today’s grammar of the Past Simple Vs Past Continuous:


Mark the Words Grammar Quiz:

Drag the Words Grammar Quiz:

Fill in the blanks Grammar Quiz:



Learn the Simple Past and the Past Continuous




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