Past Simple-Past Continous. Exercises.

Ex 1. Choose the correct verb form (Past Simple or Past Continuous) to complete the sentences.

  1. The film was rubbish, so we left/ were leaving the cinema and went / were going to the cybercafé.
  2. I didn’t like / wasn’t liking the program we watched / were watching, so I turned / was turning off the TV.
  3. Dave rang / was ringing me while I did / was doing my homework.
  4. As I fell / was falling asleep, I heard/was hearing a strange noise.
  5. I dropped / was dropping my keys while I ran / was running for the bus.
  6. The competition judges didn’t know / weren’t knowing whose food they tasted/ were tasting.

Ex 2. Complete the email with the Past Simple or Past Continuous of these verbs. You will need to use some verbs more than once.

Words: decide, get, give, go, happen, not hurt, play, try, want.

Last weekend Ben and I visited that new leisure center that everyone is talking about. We 1) ___________ to the ice-skating rink first. Ben slipped a few times while he 2) ___________ to do acrobatic tricks, but luckily he 3) ___________ himself. After that, we went to the main hall to see what 4) __________ there. On one side of the hall a rock band 5) __________ while on the other side some skateboarders 6) ____________ a display. The Skateboarders were fantastic so we 7) ___________ to stay and watch them.

After the exhibition, we both 8) __________ to go to the shops inside the center. But it was nearly rush hour and the shops 9) ___________ really crowded so we 10) ____________ to the multiplex cinema to see The Illusionist. What a fantastic film!

Ex 3. Past Simple or Past Continuous?

  1. An amazing display of traditional-style canoes ____ last week in Portland (to open).
  2. Last month, we ________ the most amazing opportunity to head down to Nashville (to have).
  3. Last year we________ too tired even to make quality home design (to be).
  4. While the tourists __________ at the beach, animators __________ coffee in the bar (to dance, to have).
  5. Last time there ________ a snowfall in November in 2016 (to be).
  6. We ________ busy building our new country house that year (to be).
  7. Our friend’s dog __________ us as we__________ around the neighborhood (to follow, to walk).
  8. The student __________ up the escalator while it __________ (to run, to move).

Ex. 4. Match the beginnings (1-7) with the endings (a-g). Then complete the sentences with the past simple or past continuous of the verbs in brackets.

1.He ___________ (climb) down the side of a building

2. The sun _________ (shine) brightly

3. The hot water tank _________ (explode)

4. When we _________ (get) to the concert

5. I _________ (not know) that my friends

6. While you _________ (lie) on the beach

7. Last year, Simon _________ (give up) painting


a) while I __________ (have) a shower.

b) the band ___________ (play) my favourite song.

c) when suddenly the rope _________ (break).

d) and __________ (take up) sculpture instead.

e) ___________ (prepare) a surprise  party for me.

f) when I __________ (get up) this morning.

g) we ___________ (study) for our exams!

Ex. 5. Past Simple or Past Continuous?

  1. I (to go) to the cinema yesterday.
  2. I (to go) to the cinema at four o’clock yesterday.
  3. They (to go) to the cinema when they met me.
  4. She (to learn) words the whole evening yesterday.
  5. She (to learn) words when mother came home.
  6. He (to work) in the garden yesterday.
  7. He (to work) in the garden from five till eight yesterday.
  8. My sister is fond of read­ing. She (to read) the whole evening yesterday.
  9. The children (to do) their lessons at six o’clock yesterday.
  10. I (not to play) the pi­ano yesterday. I (to write) a letter to my friend.
  11. I (not to play) the piano at four o’clock yester­day. I (to read) a book.
  12. He (not to sleep) when father came home. He (to do) his homework.
  13. When I (to go) to school the day before yester­day, I met Mike and Pete. They (to talk) and (to eat) an ice-cream.
  14. The baby (to sleep) the whole evening yesterday. She (feel) bad.
  15. What your father (to do) from eight till nine yesterday?
  16. Why she (to cry) when I saw her yesterday?

Ex. 6. Complete the dialogue using Past Simple or Past Continuous.

Ann:   How ____ your holiday at the seaside?

Ben:   Oh, it ____ wonderful, thank you! We ____ great fun!

Ann:   What (you / do)______________there?

Ben:   In the mornings, while my parents still (have breakfast) _______, I (play) _____  tennis with my friend Harry. After that, at about 10 o’clock we (swim) _____ in the sea and  (play)______ football on the beach.

Ann:   Yes, that sounds good! And what (you / do)______ in the afternoons after your lunch?

Ben:   After lunch (we / go)______ on some interesting excursions around the place

where (we / stay) _______ that week. In the evenings after dinner (we /watch)_______ films on TV or (we / play) _______ chess with my dad.

Ann:   I see, and what (you / do)_______ between 5 pm and dinner time?

Ben:   Well, when the weather was nice and warm, my friend and I (have fun)_______ at the seaside. We (swim)________or (play)_________volleyball on the beach.

Ann:   Fantastic! Next time I’ll go with you.

Ex 7. Past Simple or Past Continuous?

  1. ____you _____ (to wait) for me at 5 p.m.? — Yes, I ____.
  2. They_____ (to finish) their work at 11 o’clock and ______ (to come) home.
  3. It _____ (to grow) dark, so we______(to decide) to return.
  4. While Jack _______(to sit) by the window, we______ (to work) on a project
  5. A young man (to run) out into the street. He ______(to carry) a cat in his hands.
  6. What______you______(to do) when I ______(to phone) you yesterday?
  7. John______(to listen) to the radio when the batteries ______(to run) out.
  8. The robbers______(to steal) the car and they _____ (to drive) away.
  9. She______(to go) to buy a dress, but a thief _____ (to steal) all her money.
  10. She______ (to slip),______ (to fall) over and______ (to break) her leg.
  11. I saw a light in your window as I ______ (to go) by.
  12. Yesterday while I ______ (to walk) down Cherry Lane, I ______ (to meet) Thomas, an old friend of mine.

Ex. 8. Complete the sentences using Past Continuous or Past Simple.

  1. Peter (stay) at a seaside hotel on holiday when he (meet) his friend.
  2. While I (have) lunch the sun (come) out again.
  3. Who … you (talk to) on the telephone when I came?
  4. When Mary (read) the letter she (notice) many spelling mistakes.
  5. She (go) to bed when suddenly she (see) a mouse.
  6. We (sit) down to dinner when the door bell (ring).
  7. Mary’s grandfather (hurt) his back while he (dig) in the vegetable garden yesterday.
  8. While he (sleep), the doctor (arrive).
  9. What … she (wear) when yon (see) her at the party?
  10. What… she (want) when she (visit) you yesterday?
  11. Somebody (knock) on the front door as I (have) 
  12. How much money … you (spend) last Christmas?
  13. My father (give) me money and I (spend) it all in one day.
  14. Peter (not/feel) very well, so he (consult) his doctor.
  15. Where …you (live) this time last year?
  16. Peter (not/look) at me as he (speak).
  17. When the ambulance (arrive), the patient (sleep) like a child.
  18. (read)when he (called).
  19. They (wait) for the bus when I (see)
  20. What …you (do) when you (see) them?





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