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Simple Past

SIMPLE PAST

SIMPLE PAST

The Simple Past indicates that an activity or situation began and ended at a particular time in the past.

Example :
a. I walked to school yesterday
b. John lived in Paris for ten years , but now he lives in Rome
c. I bought a new car three days ago

If a sentence contains when and has the simple past in both clauses , the action in the when clause happens first.

Example :
a. Rita stood under a tree when it began to rain ( first : the rain began , second : she stood under a tree )
b. When Mrs. Chu heard a strange noise , she got up to investigate.
c. When I dropped my cup , the coffee spilled on my lap.

PAST PROGRESSIVE

Example :
a. I was waling down the street when it began to rain ( first : I was waling down the street , second : it began to rain. Both actions occured at the same time ,but one action began earlier and was in progress when the other action occured )
b. When I was walking down the street , it began to rain
c. Rita was standing under a tree when it began to rain
d. At eight o’clock last night , I was studying (my studying began before 8:00, was in progress at that time , and probably continued )
e. Last year at this time. I was attending school

Sometimes the past progressive is used in both parts of a sentence when two actions are in progress simultaneously
a. While I was studying in one room of our apartment , my roommate was having a party in the other room

Exercise : Simple Past vs Past Progressive

1. I am sitting in class right now. I ( sit ) …………. in class at this exact same time yesterday
2. I don’t want to go to the zoo today because it is raining. The same thing happened yesterday. I ( want , not ) ………… to go to the zoo because it ( rain ) ……..
3. I ( call ) ………….Roger at nine last night , but he ( be , not )……….. at home. He ( study ) …………… at the library
4. I ( hear , not ) …………… the thunder during the storm last night because I ( sleep ) ……………….
5. It was beautiful yesterday when we went for a walk in the park. The sun ( shine ) …………………… . A cool breeze ( ( blow ) ………….. . The birds ( sing ) ………….
6. My brother and sister ( argue ) ………. about something when I ( walk ) ………… into the room
7. I got a package in the mail. When I ( open ) ……. it, I ( find ) ……….. a surprise
8. While Mrs. Emerson ( read ) ………… the little boy a story , he ( fall ) …………. asleep, so she ( close ) ……… the book and quitely ( tiptoe ) ……….. out of the room
9. A: why weren’t you at the meeting ?
  B : I ( wait )………. for an overseas call from my family
10. A : ( you , hear ) ……………. what she just said ?
B : No, I ( listen ,not ) ……….. . I (think ) ………….. about something else
11. A : how ( you , break ) ………….. your arm ?
B : I ( slip ) …………. on the ice while I ( cross ) ……….. the street in front of the dorm
12. A : I’m sure you met Carol Jones at the party last night
B : I don’t remember her. What ( she , wear ) …………..?
13. It was my first day of class. I ( find , finally ) …………. the right room. The room ( be , already ) ……………… full of students. On one side of the room , students ( talk , busily ) ………………… to each other in Spanish. Other students ( speak ) ……………….. Japanese, and some ( converse ) ………………. in Arabic. It sounded like the United Nations. Some of the students , however , ( sit , just ) ……………….quietly by themselves. I ( choose ) ……………… an empty seat in the last row and ( sit )………………. down. In a few minutes , the teacher ( walk ) ………………. into the room and all the multilingual conversation ( stop ) ……………………….
14. I really enjoyed my vacation last January. Whileit ( snow )……………………..in Toronto, the sun ( shine ) ………………….. inFlorida. While you ( shovel ) ………………. snow in Iowa, I ( lie ) ………………….on the beach in florida

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