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Simple Past Tense & Past Progressive

April 8, 2013

Simple Past Tense

The simple past tense is used to talk about actions that happened at a specific time in the
past. You state when it happened using a time adverb.

You form the simple past of a verb by adding -ed onto the end of a regular verb but,
irregular verb forms have to be learned.

For example:

“Last year I took my exams.”

“I got married in 1992.”

It can be used to describe events that happened over a period of time in the past but not
now.

For example:

“I lived in South Africa for two years.”

The simple past tense is also used to talk about habitual or repeated actions that took
place in the past.

Past Progressive

The past progressive tense is difficult for many non-native speakers to master because many
languages don’t have an equivalent.

The past progressive describes an action that was in progress at a specific time in the
past. It can be used:

To describe an action that started in the past and was interrupted by another action:

He was writing an e-mail when the phone rang.
When the phone rang, he was writing an e-mail.
While he was writing an e-mail, the phone rang

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