PAST SIMPLE AND PAST CONTINUOUS
The past simple is used to describe:
- Actions or events in the past:
- I went to London last year.
- Actions or events which happened one after another:
- I visited the Prado museum and later went to a cafeteria.
The past continuous is used to describe:
- Activities that were already happening at a moment in the past:
- While I was walking to college, I met a friend.
- Activities in which we don’t know the start or the finish:
- The music was playing and I was feeling happy.
The past simple and past continuous are often used to show that an action happened in the middle of an activity:
We were watching tv when the phone rang.
When, while and as
- We can use when, while and as to introduce an activity in the past continuous: when/while/as I was watching tv the phone rang.
- We generally use when to introduce actions in the past simple: I was watching tv when the phone rang.
1.- Past simple
El “past simple” describe una acción pasada ya finalizada.
When I was young I lived in Madrid (ahora vivo en Barcelona)
2.- Past continuous
Indica que una acción se estaba desarrollando en cierto momento del pasado al cual se hace referencia. No dice si la acción ya finalizó o todavía continuaba
When the mother came home her husband was playing with the kids (no sabemos si terminó de jugar en ese momento o continuó jugando)
A veces se describen dos acciones simultáneas que tuvieron lugar en el pasado. En dicho caso, se utiliza el “past simple” para describir aquella que finalizó y el “past continuous” para aquella otra que estaba ocurriendo cuando la primera tuvo lugar.
Yesterday evening when you called me I was having a shower
When the parents arrived home the children were watching TV
Otra diferencia entre ambos tiempos es que el “past continuous” se utiliza a veces para indicar que la acción es más casual, menos planificada.
Yesterday morning, from 8 to 10, I was running (algo rutinario, que suelo hacer con frecuencia, por lo que no lo resalto)
Yesterday morning, from 8 to 10, I ran (algo diferente, un tanto extraordinario, por lo que quiero destacarlo)
We use used to, to describe things that happened regularly in the past but don’t happen now:
I used to smoke but now I don’t.
I didn’t use to exercise but now I do sports.
Used to, is only used in the past. I used to live in Dublín but now I live in Barcelona.
- To talk about things that happen regularly in the present, use the present simple.
With adverbs like usually, everyday, etc.: I usually drink wine with my lunch. He catches the same train every day.
Apologise (v) to tell someone you are sorry about something you have done.
Canteen (n) a restaurant in an office, factory or school.
Earn a wage (v) to get money for doing work weekly.
Explain (v) to make something clear or easy to understand by giving reasons for it.
Fail an exam (v) to not pass a test or an exam.
Have fun (v) to enjoy yourself.
Invite (v) to ask someone to come to a social event.
Learn (v) to get knowledge or skill in a new subject or activity.
Lose (v) to not be able to find someone or something.
Make friends (v) to begin to know and like someone.
Miss the bus (v) to arrive too late to get on a bus.
Pass the exam (v) to succeed at a test or exam.
Ring (v) to make the sound of a bell.
Set off (v) to start a journey.
Sit an exam (v) to take an exam.
Spend time doing (v) to use time doing something or being somewhere.
Study (v) to learn about a subject in school or university.
Suggest (v) to express an idea or plan for someone to consider.
Take an exam (v) to do an official test
Take time to do something (v) to do something without hurrying.
Teach (v) to give lessons in particular subjects a school or university.
Thank (v) to tell someone that you are grateful for something they have done for you.