---Contrast between simple past and past continuos--- - Coggle Diagram
---Contrast between simple past and past continuos---
Past sentences are very important, they allow us to describe actions or past events
Describes actions that happened in a specific moment in the past.
Dorothy travelled to Moscow last year.
Describes actions that were
in progress in the past.
I was working overtime last week
When do we use them together?
To talk about an action which happened while another one was in progress. When this happened, we use the past simple to refer to a shorter action (the single event), and the past continuous to talk about the longer action (the action in progress).
in my bag for my passport when I heard a shout.
when the plane landed?
When we have a sentence in past simple and another in past continuous, we often use when and while. There are some rules to take into consideration.
Before the past simple sentence
When I took the picture, the animals were sleeping.
She was watching TV when I arrived.
Before the past continuous
While is also used when two actions are happeningsimultaneously
While Patricio was cleaning his room, his parents were having lunch.
The phone rang while I was cooking
WHILE = AS
Another thing which is important to mention is that in this case while and as have the
While my brother was listening to music, someone knocked out the door.
As my brother was listening to music, someone knocked out the door.
There are different ways in which we can combinate past simple and past continuous.
Here are some examples:
Past Continuous + Past Continuous
When two activities in progress in the past happened simultaneously.
While I was packing, Romina was reading a book.
Past Simple + Past Simple
When two single actions occur at the same time in the past, or one immediately after
As I saw her, I left the room.
I celebrated my birthday when I got home.
Past Simple + Past continuous
One single action that interrupts an action in progress in the past.
I was walking in the park when I found a wallet.
I found a wallet while I was walking in the park.
Difference contrast between simple past and past continuous
If the actions are consecutive, the verbs
must be in past simple form
As I finished the test,
I left the classroom
We tend to use the past simple to talk
about frequent actions
Robby visited his grandpa every day.
Simple past describes single completed
actions in the past
I did my homework.
When there are a simple past and a past continuous the last one describes the lenght of the action.
As I was finishing the test
Nevertheless, past continuous
emphasizes the temporality of the action
When his grandpa was sick
visiting him twice a day.
Past continuous describes actions that
were in progress in the past.
I was doing my homework.
In narrative texts past continuous is used
to describe the events.
He was walking quickly
He was not
wearing his glasses.
Murphy, R. (2007). Essential Grammar in Use. (third e.d.). United Kingdom:
Cambridge University Press. pp. 30-39
Thomson, A.J. & Martinet, A.V. (1986). A Practical English Grammar. Hong Kong:
Oxford University Press. pp. 118-119
English with Miss Bel. (2020). PAST SIMPLE AND CONTINUOUS - WHEN and WHILE. [Video File]. Retrieved from
Rodriguo. (2019). Las diferencias del pasado simple y pasado continuo. Recuperado
CUAED UNAM. (w.d.). Contrast the use between Past Simple and Past Continuous. Retrieved from