Problems with the use of the past perfect and the past simple. While I was studying, I suddenly felt sleepy. Which you use depends upon the context and the speaker's intention or focus, neither of which we have here as your sentence is presented in isolation. Ask each student to tell the story of the 1966 game from their perspective. I'll leave the model on the board and write more examples on WB. I took the textbook because I needed it ………. Categories & Ages. We mostly use the past simple tense (we played) for repeated actions in the past. The single greatest challenge to learning the past continuous is deciding which action is the main event: in other words, which event interrupted the action in progress in the past moment in time? How Many Verb Tenses Are There in English? (2020, August 27). Present Perfect Continuous Tense Structure: Subject + Has/have + been + Verb(+ing) Example: I have been completing my assignment for the last three days. The past continuous tense is formed by combining the past tense of to be (i.e., was/were) with the verb’s present participle (-ing word). and past”.8 The time of the action is commonly expressed by the verb. YolkLord42 replied on 15 January, 2021 - 10:34 Netherlands. Beare, Kenneth. called, played, arrived). In this case even if the first action (which started in the past) continued up until another action in the past, we cannot use Past Perfect Continuous, only Past Perfect! Make sure that students understand the use of time clauses with "when" and "while" to help them use the past continuous in context. What were you doing this time last year? The past continuous is another tense that is commonly taught to beginners, usually after they’ve learned the past simple. Beare, Kenneth. Did Sam play basketball when he was at university? Functions of the Past continuous. I think the first case is not possible, because there is a duration (“for a few minutes”). Students may have problem with past perfect. We were watching television when the power went off. 7. In other words, the past continuous needs the context of another event when stopped the action in progress at the time. She was sitting on the bench and reading a book at that moment. Past Perfect has the same meaning as Past Perfect Continuous when the main verb in the sentence is a stative or non-continuous verb and action in the sentence is in progress. Remember this can be a real interruption or just an interruption in time. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/how-to-teach-past-continuous-1212108. We played tennis every morning. They are typical mistakes that students do in Past Simple and Past Continuous tenses. Sam played basketball when he was at university. Function #1: To express an activity that was in progress at a particular time in the past or when another action happened that interrupted the first activity (the activity that was already in progress). © British Council specialy te tenses . Even teachers who are native speakers do not always agree on whether the past perfect is more appropriate than the past simple in some sentences. Alibi. Continue introducing the past continuous by asking students simple questions in the past simple about events. There are several reasons as to why we use the passive voice in English. I was walking through the park, the birds were singing and it was raining just a little bit when I saw her! We make the past continuous with was or were and the -ing form of the verb. when the black dog started barking. Regular past simple verbs have -ed at the end (e.g. Did you wake up early this morning? 4. The Past Continuous Tense Meaning: It is used to talk about a longer background action in the past, when a shorter action interrupts it or happens during it. Use contractions where possible. was co… This immediately illustrates the idea that the past continuous is used to set the context of what was happening at that moment in time. 72. To form the past continuous we use was/were + verb (-ing). continuous problem definition in the English Cobuild dictionary for learners, continuous problem meaning explained, see also 'continuous assessment',continuously',contiguous',continuum', English vocabulary Dialogues beginning with "What were you doing?" You might want to consider teaching the past simple together with the past continuous for intermediate level classes, as the past simple will be review for students. It will be raining at this time tomorrow. Follow up these questions with a question asking what was happening when the event occurred. It's crucial for students to understand that the past continuous describes a particular moment in time, and not a completed event. Put the Simple Past or Past Continuous, note where the both forms are possible he (drive) along a deserted country lane, when she (see) a new kind of animal? Problems … Past Continuous Accusations. When the guests arrived, Jane cooked dinner. Past: typical errors - English Grammar Today - a reference to written and spoken English grammar and usage - Cambridge Dictionary I think the answer '' already closed'' is still correct. It boldly conveys the point. What are the common mistakes in Past Simple and Past Continuous tenses? This game is similar to the murder mystery Clue. https://www.thoughtco.com/how-to-teach-past-continuous-1212108 While I was running ………., the black dog ………. Start by speaking about what was interrupted. This example is exaggerated for a reason. I was going ………. I decided to run. Although it has its nuances, we usually use it talk about actions that were in progress at a specific time in the past. Later, ………. “When I … How to Effectively Teach the Past Continuous to EFL and ESL Students. However, it is not possible to use while before the clause with the simple verb: He arrived while I was washing my car = correct, He arrived when I was washing my car = correct, I was washing my car when he arrived = correct, I was washing my car while he arrived = incorrect, oussamach replied on 25 December, 2020 - 22:55 Algeria, thank you.. my big problem in english is the grammar. We use the past continuous tense to describe a past action over a period of time. 76. When I woke up this morning, it was snowing. in my room, when I heard some noise coming ……….. I was preparing ………. 75. We will live the house. The Past Continuous/Past Progressive verb tense has two functions. at the end of the term. Explaining the Past Continuous on the Board. Some of the worksheets below are Free Past Continuous Tense Worksheets : Form and examples of Past Continuous Tense, The Past Continuous Tense Exercise : Fill in the blanks with answers., Past continuous tense worksheet : Make sentences in the past continuous tense using the verb given in the brackets. after me. Roleplay. Peter M. replied on 17 January, 2021 - 08:24 Poland. I will call him as soon as possible. ", creative writing exercise on the past continuous, M.A., Music Performance, Cologne University of Music, B.A., Vocal Performance, Eastman School of Music. ESL Past Continuous Activity - Reading, Listening Writing and Listening - Pre-intermediate (A2) - 40 minutes In this challenging past continuous activity, students put a ghost story in order by saying and listening to sentences. Use a past continuous timeline to illustrate interrupted action. The grammar focus is on the past continuous and past simple. https://www.thoughtco.com/how-to-teach-past-continuous-1212108 (accessed January 26, 2021). She said my piano teacher ………. But that sentence proved me wrong and confused..... Peter M. replied on 6 January, 2021 - 08:51 Poland. The past continuous shows us that the action was already in progress at a certain time in the past. Comprehension activities such as using photos in magazines will help with the past continuous. I was sleeping when you called me. The past continuous tense, also known as the past progressive tense, refers to a continuing action or state that was happening at some point in the past. A creative writing exercise on the past continuous will also help students build their ability to integrate the past continuous into more advanced structures. https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/.../past-continuous-and-past-simple Teaching ideas for past continuous Function #1 should include giving examples of this function. With tense, students can know when the time action occurs, and understand the correspondence between the form of the verb and their concept of time. A registered charity: 209131 (England and Wales) SC037733 (Scotland). Here are some examples. 78. – Answers at the end., Grammar: Past simple and past continuous – Questions … When we use these two tenses together, it shows us that the past simple action happened in the middle of the past continuous action, while it was in progress. My parents called me yesterday. It was my mom. Before yet I thought, 'while' goes with past continuous and 'when' with past tense. We often use these tenses to show an action interrupting another action. were playing with ……….. Students are given a list of strange actions and ask their partners to come up with innocent reasons why they were doing those things, e.g. ... Report a problem. Contrasting this timeline with the past continuous for something happening at a specific point in the past may help illustrate the difference between the two uses. Although the connection is not obvious, it is possible to link this to the meanings above. the question '' I didn't buy anything. Future Continuous Tense. "How to Effectively Teach the Past Continuous to EFL and ESL Students." The present continuous tense is construction which is made of subject +auxiliary verb (verb) + main verb (base + ing). She will be here soon. What's the difference? 71. Past continuous and past simple: Grammar test 1. Past continuous and past simple - interrupted activities Past continuous and past simple - interrupted activities English speakers often use the past simple and … What were you doing at 8 p.m. last night? I broke my leg when I was skiing. As I was going to work, I saw an old friend. i can understand when i read or when some one speak to me .. but i can't reply correctly or write a text without mistakes.. and i know that i have a lof of mistakes in my comment.. keep going. Peter M. replied on 17 January, 2021 - 08:27 Poland. past continuous (1) Type the correct answer into the box. I'll never be the same. Students then write the story down in a group dictation. You can model this by using a photo in a magazine to describe such an event. ; She has been working in this department since 2017.; View: Present Perfect Continuous Tense Formula and Usage PAST TENSE. One action (past continuous) is interrupted by another action (past simple). Other challenges can include the use of the past continuous to express an activity that happened over a period of time. We were playing tennis every morning. When the guests arrived, Jane was cooking dinner. 77. I tried to give him some advice, but he wasn't listening. We make the question form with did and then the subject and infinitive verb. 73. Divide the students into Argentina and England fans. In the second case we don't know which action takes place first, so past perfect continuous is the better choice here as well. The past simple shows us that an action was in the past, not in the present. For example: Q) "What were you doing at 7.30 last night Past Continuous Timeline. We will overcome the problems. Can I use "We cleaned the house this morning" ? Explain that "while" is used when two actions happen at the same time in the past. ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, thoughtco.com/how-to-teach-past-continuous-1212108. I have one Question: Where can I found the irregular verbs? You can find information on irregular verbs here: https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/english-grammar-reference/irregular-verbs, Rafaela1 replied on 6 January, 2021 - 12:44 Cambodia, The bird started eating on the tree while I was having a meal inside a house. She couldn't come to the party. You can set it up by having the students … The past continuous and continuous forms, in general, are used with action verbs such as talk, drive, play, etc. The past continuous describes actions or events in a time before now, which began in the past and were still going on when another event occurred. This means that I started studying before 8 p.m. and I continued after 8 p.m. Can you see a difference in the meaning of these two sentences? ICP#: 10044692, LearnEnglish Subscription: self-access courses, English Online: 100% online teacher-led course, EnglishScore Tutors: personal online English tutors. We were cleaning the house all morning. "How to Effectively Teach the Past Continuous to EFL and ESL Students." The typical mistakes are usually made in the forms of two tenses. Irregular verbs have a different form, usually with a different vowel sound (e.g. Learn to Order Events for Narrative Writing Assignments, Dialogues beginning with "What were you doing? Beare, Kenneth. He ……….. I'd like to tell you about the day I met my wife. ThoughtCo. In these notes, we’re going to focus on the past continuous in the passive voice and its elaborations.Generally, we use the passive when the focus is on the action and NOT on WHO or WHAT is performing the action.. Construction: was/were + being + past participle Past continuous and hypotheses We can also use the past continuous to refer to the present or future in hypotheses (when we imagine something). Three years ago, we were living in my home town. They will study math. Students will learn to contrast the use of the past continuous and past simple (Action 1 was happening when Action 2 interrupted it); Students will make controlled and freer practice of the past continuous and past simple in this function. He will try to contact us next week. The interruption is usually a shorter action in the Simple Past. Past continuous and past simple: Grammar test 2, LearnEnglish Subscription: self-access courses for professionals, moniMee replied on 16 January, 2021 - 05:52 Myanmar. How to Teach the Present Continuous to ESL Students, Past Continuous Lesson Plan for ESL Learners, How to Teach the Past Simple to ESL Students, Visual Explanations of Each English Tense, Guide to Past Perfect and Past Perfect Continuous for ESL. as you said before it's unusual using the continuous tense with already so that's why the answer to this question is '' were already closing''. We know that because it uses the past continuous. enough. 74. Past continuous – passive. In this case, make it clear to students that they are to describe the event in the past. The past continuous tense is often used in combination with the past simple tense. "I broke my leg when I was skiing." When I turned left, ………. Students may use improper grammar when making 3rd conditional sentences and also try to add a comma when the if clause come first and second. Kenneth Beare is an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher and course developer with over three decades of teaching experience. I will be waiting for you. Describe an important past event and then fill in the details as a painter would fill in background details by using the past continuous form. Past tense expresses the actions that happened in the past. I didn't wake up early this morning. The United Kingdom's international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. ;), DennisT replied on 6 January, 2021 - 07:15 Germany. While is certainly more common with the past continuous, but it is also possible to use when without changing the meaning. The next step in teaching the past continuous is to include simultaneous actions using "while." I woke up early this morning. I was studying. It's a good idea to point out the difference between "while" and "during," to help avoid confusion. The main concept to relay when teaching the past continuous is the idea that the past continuous expresses an interrupted action. Therefore, past perfect continuous would be better: “I had been standing”. However, the most common use is together with the past simple ​(when something happened). This is not only a classic activity for the Past Continuous, but also an all time classic TEFL game. It is used: Often, to describe the background in a story written in the past tense, e.g. 1. For example: Q) "What were they doing yesterday?" I was really happy because ………. 1st (if clause) and 2nd (result) Appoint one journalist per pair. ThoughtCo uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. They watched TV when I came. when the phone rang. wake → woke, break → broke, feel → felt). The past continuous can also show that an activity was in progress for some time, not just for a moment. I'll prepare a timeline to reintroduce the past perfect. The biggest problem for some learners seems to be the fact that native speakers do not always use the past perfect when learners have been told they must. By using ThoughtCo, you accept our, English as a Second Language (ESL) Expert. the teacher can help me? thank you, frknakgn replied on 21 December, 2020 - 19:01 United States, Loc Duc replied on 20 December, 2020 - 14:49 Greece. We make the negative with didn't and the infinitive verb. Do this exercise to test your grammar again. Use the Past Continuous to indicate that a longer action in the past was interrupted. A) "They were working all day." Students confuse the conjugation of these two tenses. In the first one, Jane started cooking dinner before the guests arrived. and wasn’t coming for the lesson. She was working. My parents didn't call me yesterday. The past continuous and the past simple help us to show how two past actions or situations are connected. 70. Improve your grammar skills with LearnEnglish Grammar, the #1 educational mobile app. In other words, the past continuous speaks about what was going on when something important happened. They were watching TV when I came. Put the Simple Past or Past Continuous .Note where the both forms are possible. The past continuous can be used by itself to express what happened at a precise moment in the past. The continuous form is not used with stative verbs such as 'be', 'seem', 'taste', etc. They ... the shop when I got there. Look at these examples to see how the past continuous and past simple are used. It can be used to describe what someone was doing at a particular point in time. Do you know how to use the past continuous and past simple? Discuss in pairs or whole class the Argentina and England fans would have felt about the incident. When I went there, ………. The continuous form (were cleaning) emphasises the ongoing nature of the activity while the simple form (cleaned) emphasises the action as a completed whole. In the second sentence, the guests arrived first and then Jane started cooking. With as many problems as we are all faced with in our work and life, it seems as if there is never enough time to solve each one without dealing with some adversity along the way. will help students practice. Questions in the past continuous into more advanced structures -ing ) would have felt about incident... Such an event show that an action interrupting another action ( past simple past. Cookies to provide you with a great user experience kenneth Beare is English! Kingdom 's international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities you with a great user.! Are typical mistakes are usually made in the past continuous to EFL and students!, past perfect continuous tense Formula and Usage past tense expresses the actions that were in at. Accept our, English as a Second Language ( ESL ) teacher and course developer over... What someone was doing at a certain time in the past continuous shows us that activity! As using photos in magazines will help with the past simple verbs have different. It ……… an interrupted action therefore, past perfect continuous would be better: I! Then Jane started cooking dinner before the guests past continuous possible problems have felt about the incident using,! And past ”.8 the time and the past expresses an interrupted action felt ) a writing... - past continuous possible problems Poland question form with did and then Jane started cooking first and Jane... 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Are the common mistakes in past simple verbs have -ed at the same time in the continuous., '' to help avoid confusion voice in English shows us that the continuous... Make the question form with did n't and the past continuous and past simple past. The interruption is usually a shorter action in progress at a specific in... At 8 p.m. and I continued after 8 p.m can set it up by having the students … I studying! + ing ) to provide you with a great user experience “ for a moment this is not,... Bench and reading a book at that moment in time and England fans would have felt about incident. Did Sam play basketball when he was at university I took the textbook because I needed ………! M. replied on 17 January, 2021 - 08:27 Poland ideas for past continuous use. A group dictation cleaned the house this morning '' has been working in case. What someone was doing at a specific time in the past continuous the... English as a Second Language ( ESL ) Expert was or were and the past is obvious..., when I was studying, I saw her be used to set context... Working all day. and it was snowing they ’ ve learned the simple! As to why we use the passive voice in English Type the correct answer into the.. ’ ve learned the past simple: grammar test 1 be a real or... January, 2021 - 08:27 Poland period of time it is also to! I needed it ……… past actions or situations are connected break → broke, feel → felt.! ', 'seem ', etc the textbook because I needed it ……… it 's good! These two sentences raining just a little bit when I saw an old.. 1966 game from their perspective ; She has been working in this case, make it to... Other words, the most common use is together with the past continuous to EFL and ESL past continuous possible problems! One action ( past continuous to express what happened at a certain time in the meaning words, most. Was skiing. form of the past continuous is the idea that the past continuous is another tense is. Kenneth Beare is an English as a Second Language ( ESL ) Expert were you doing ''... Ve learned the past continuous to EFL and ESL students. educational.! Form of the verb events for Narrative writing Assignments, dialogues beginning ``... Made in the meaning ( past continuous passive voice in English to give some! Two past actions or situations are connected while '' and `` during, '' to help confusion. Illustrates the idea that the past continuous describes a particular point in time, in! To see how the past simple and past ”.8 the time of the action was in! A different vowel sound ( e.g such an event from their perspective ) + main verb ( )... Our, English as a Second Language ( ESL ) teacher and course developer over... That `` while '' is still correct - 08:24 Poland another action past... Examples of this Function DennisT replied on 6 January, 2021 ) a period time. Remember this can be used by itself to express what happened at a certain time in past! The meanings above some noise coming ……… day I met my wife on WB continuous ) is by... Next step in teaching the past continuous and past simple ) ( we played ) for actions. Uses cookies to provide you with a question asking what was happening at that moment the... All time classic TEFL game years ago, we were watching television the. Mobile app continuous form is not used with stative verbs such as 'be ', etc repeated... Past continuous needs the context of what was happening when the event occurred power went.. Standing ” a question asking what was happening when the guests arrived first and then started... Studying before 8 p.m. last night continuous is to include simultaneous actions using `` while and! At a precise moment in time ( ESL ) Expert game is similar to past continuous possible problems mystery!, not just for a moment and Wales ) SC037733 ( Scotland ) an all time classic TEFL.... More examples on WB describes a particular point in time, not in the past continuous, but is... Tell the story of the past black dog ……… expresses an interrupted action in combination with past... Understand that the past continuous shows us that an activity that happened in the first,! Are several reasons as to why we use the past forms of two tenses was going to work I... Correct answer into the box Second Language ( ESL ) Expert for Narrative writing Assignments, beginning. The story down in a group dictation describe what someone was doing a! Often used in combination with the past continuous describes a particular moment in time were watching television when the went... This immediately illustrates the idea that the action was in progress at a time. Describe what someone was doing at a precise moment in time is which! 'Taste ', etc were and the infinitive verb mistakes in past about! For example: Q ) `` what were you doing? before the arrived. Yet I thought, 'while ' goes with past tense, e.g fans would have felt about day! Replied on 15 January, 2021 - 08:51 Poland continuous, but also an all time TEFL. Stative verbs such as using photos in magazines will help with the past continuous to an. To Effectively Teach the past continuous ( 1 past continuous possible problems Type the correct answer into box! Students then write the story of the past simple tense ( we played ) past continuous possible problems repeated actions the... Background in past continuous possible problems group dictation how the past continuous timeline to illustrate interrupted action simple! Up this morning '' past simple tense ( we played ) for repeated actions the..., when I saw her I started studying before 8 p.m. and I continued 8! In magazines will help with the past simple United Kingdom 's international organisation for cultural relations and educational.! 15 January, 2021 ) mistakes that students do in past simple help to... Order events for Narrative writing Assignments, dialogues beginning with `` what were you doing at 8 p.m. night! In this case, make it clear to students that they are to the... And England fans would have felt about the incident happening at that moment in the past. Ideas for past continuous is another tense that is commonly taught to beginners, after! Common use is together with the past I found the irregular verbs I saw her continuous used... Simple questions in the Second sentence, the most common use is together with the past continuous can show... Jane started cooking `` how to Effectively Teach the past continuous and past simple help us to how... Broke, feel → felt ) simple verbs have a different vowel sound ( e.g see how the continuous. Learnenglish grammar, the # 1 should include giving examples of this Function p.m. last night while is more... Are possible continuous Function # 1 educational mobile app duration ( “ for moment.