Past Simple and Past Continuous Tense – English Grammar Lesson | Learn English With Michelle

Past Simple and Past Continuous Tense – English Grammar Lesson | Learn English With Michelle


Hi guys, welcome to the lesson, You know what,
‘I was eating biscuit before I started this lesson’ and ‘in the morning I ate breakfast’,
what’s the difference between these two sentences, do we have the same tenses? No, these two
sentences talk about the past, but one is past continuous and the other is past simple.
Don’t get too confused, just stay with me in this lesson to solve the puzzle of “past
continuous” and “past simple”. So guys here we have with us certain sentences that
will help you understand how to talk about past tense using these tenses. So let’s look
at the first sentence, “yesterday Carin and Jim played tennis”, do you think it’s
past continuous or past simple? Well, because the main verb in the sentence has an “ed”,
that’s why this is past simple. But what if this verb had “ing”, then it would be
past continuous. But in this case it is past simple. Right, so if I ask you what time were
they playing tennis? Let’s say, they were playing tennis from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.,
so we’d say they played tennis yesterday from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. But if I ask you
what were they doing at 10:30? Here, what were they doing at 10:30 a.m.? You’d say they
were playing tennis at 10:30 a.m. But why would we say, ‘they were playing’ instead
of saying, ‘they play tennis’ at 10:30 a.m. That’s because we are talking about an
action that was going on in the past. We are talking about, we’re in the middle of an
action that was going on in the past. So this is in middle of an action. Middle of an action
in the past. So this is where the action started and this is where the action finished. Let’s
try to draw a timeline for this, alright, so this is now, this is future and here we
have the past. This is one moment in the past and this is another moment in the past. But
when something happens in the middle of an action, before it started and until it finished,
that is where we use the “past continuous tense”. So Jim and Carin were playing tennis
at 10:30, as you can see here, this is past continuous tense because we have the “ing”.
Now let’s look at the next sentence that we have, “I waved to Helen”, okay, so ‘waved’
is past simple because we have the “ed” form of the verb, okay we are talking about
one action in the past, “I waved to Helen, but she wasn’t looking”, so this means that
we are talking about something that is happening, she wasn’t looking all this while, we are
talking about the middle of that action. So this is past continuous. Did you notice something
peculiar? The difference between this sentence and this sentence, here we say, “they were
playing tennis”, but here we say, “she wasn’t looking” why do we use this ‘was’
and ‘were’? What’s the whole confusion about? Nothing difficult. So we used ‘were’
with, oh, sorry. ‘he/she/it’ – ‘was’, okay? Third-person singular. ‘I/we/you and
they’ – ‘were’, right? That’s the reason we use, ‘wasn’t looking’, that’s
why we used ‘was’ here and ‘were’ with they, okay? Now let’s look at the next
sentence that we have, “Matt phoned while we were having dinner”. So there is an action
that is going on, which one is that? ‘Having dinner’, okay? So they were eating dinner
and the action was going on, but something happened in the middle of that action and
what happened? ‘Matt phoned’, that means ‘Matt called’… So whenever an action
happens, in the middle of something else that’s when we use, past simple and also past continuous
together. So if you’re studying and one of your friends calls to you, you could say,
“Rachel called while I was studying”, but be careful, we will say, “I was” and
not “I were”, okay? Great. “I was walking along the road when I saw Dave. So I stopped,
we had a chat.” Okay, this is interesting, we have so many actions here, “I was walking”,
okay? – action one and this is past continuous “along the road when I saw David” – second
action, but this is past simple. “So I stopped and we had a chat” we have two more actions
in this. So whenever some actions, follow the other actions in the past we use, past
simple to talk about them. So ‘I was walking along the road when I saw David’, – one
action, ‘then I stopped’ – another action and then “we had a chat” this is another
action and that’s why we are using the past simple and not the past continuous. Now we
have the last sentence with us, “I was enjoying the party, but Chris wanted to go home.”
Should we say, ‘he wanted to go home’ or ‘wanting to go home’? What if we say,
but ‘Chris was wanting to go home’, will that be correct? “I was enjoying the party,
but Chris was wanting to go home.” No, that’s incorrect. We’d rather say, ‘Chris wanted
to go home’ and this is because, we use the simple past about an action in the past.
It’s a single action that happened in the past, not something that was going on and
the word ‘want’, is usually used in the past simple, it’s never used in the past continuous
and the same applies for the word, ‘know’, you could say that, “we were good friends,
and I knew her for five years”. You wouldn’t say, ‘I was knowing her for five years’,
which will be incorrect. So, ‘know’ and ‘want’ are always used in the simple past,
like this. Okay, I hope you learned enough about the
simple past and the past continuous and now the puzzle is solved for you. Please come
back for more grammar lessons, this is Michelle signing off, bye-bye.

63 thoughts on “Past Simple and Past Continuous Tense – English Grammar Lesson | Learn English With Michelle

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  2. Good evening Michelle mam. Hope you are doing well. Thank you for your easy & useful lesson mam. I am always looking forward to learn your lesson not because it's useful but because it's easy to understand also. Thank you for creating such a great environment to learn and where we all the students were encouraged to express our own thoughts and opinions.

  3. Based on what I've learned,, in past continous,, "I" will always be followed by "was",, not "were",, except for the "conditional sentence"..

    CMIIW

  4. Ma'am I have a doubt.Please try to clear it.usually we apply WAS with first person singular(I).we use WERE with (I) in wishing sentences.Then what is your concept applying was with I in simple sentence.

  5. Happy to see your lessons I learnt many more things from your goodness…Thanks a lot with respect..!
    Read it as I m wishing
    My sentences are correct

  6. sorry teacher, but, in the first sentence and in others in this video, you should use past perfect to describe what happened between 02 events one followed by other, it was what some teachers teach.

  7. I myself am an English language instructor in Afghanistan. I like the way you teach lessons because they are quite useful and easy for new learners to pick. I appreciate your dedications. I have already recommended you to so many of my students.

  8. Could you please, upload these topics Ma'am
    Could you tell me, ma'am, how to use, when we have to use, and where? (situation)?
    1)thereby
    2)therein
    3)thereof
    4)wherein
    5)whereby
    6)hereby
    7)thereafter
    8)inwhich
    9)towhich
    10)atwhich

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  10. They were playing tennis.
    Itโ€™s not completed sentence so You want to add another sentence.
    How do you write in red pen I were

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