English Grammar Exercises for A2 – Contrast: past simple and past continuous

1. Choose the correct tense to complete the sentences.

Jake looked at the weather outside: it was grey, but it didn’trainwasn’training .

You didn’t answer when I phoned you this morning. What did you dowere you doing ?

Lucy switched off her computer, put onwas puttingon her coat and leftwasleaving the office.

She closed the window because some children madeweremaking a lot of noise outside.

When I told friends about the robbery, they didn’tbelieveweren’tbelieving me.

She didn’t hear the doorbell because she hadwashaving a shower.

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1 wasn’t raining   2 were you doing   3 put on, left

4 were making   5 didn’t believe   6 was having

2. Complete the sentences. Use the past simple form of one verb and the past continuous form of the other.

I ____________ (see) Henry as I ____________ (cycle) to the sports centre.

While we ____________ (prepare) the picnic, it ____________ (start) to rain.

All friends ____________ (leave) the party when I ____________ (arrive).

As we ____________ (walk) by the river, we ____________ (hear) a shout.

We ____________ (not eat) very much while we ____________ (stay) in that hotel.

I ____________ (drink) dad’s coffee while he ____________ (not look).

She ____________ (drop) her new phone as she ____________ (put) it in her pocket.

I ____________ (meet) a really interesting person while I ____________ (wait) for the bus.

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1 saw, was cycling   2 were preparing, started

3 were leaving, arrived   4 were walking, heard

5 didn’t eat, were staying   6 drank, wasn’t looking

7 dropped, was putting   8 met, was waiting

3. Complete the text with the past simple or past continuous form of the verbs in brackets.

In January 2014, a doctor from New Zealand 1 had (have) a frightening experience with a shark – but his calm reaction 2 _____. (make) him the star of news reports around the world.

James Grant 3 _____. (fish) with friends one Saturday when a shark attacked him. He 4 _____. (not see) anything, but he 5 _____. (felt) a sudden pain in his leg. At first, he thought that his friends 6 _____. (play) a prank on him. He 7 _____. (turn) around – but nobody 8 _____. (be) behind him. Then he 9 _____. (realise) what 10 _____. (happen).

Luckily, James 11 _____. (carry) a knife so he 12 _____. (use) it to fight off the shark. Then he 13 _____. (get) out of the water and 14 _____. (look) at his leg. The bites were 5 cm long and they 15 _____. (bleed) a lot. James 16 _____. (clean) his leg. Then he and his friends 17 _____. (go) to a nearby café! While they 18 _____. (enjoy) a drink, somebody 19 _____. (give) James a bandage because his leg 20 _____. (bleed). He 21 _____. (go) to hospital for some treatment, but on Monday he was back at work.

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2 made   3 was fishing   4 didn’t see   5 felt

6 were playing   7 turned   8 was   9 realised

10 was happening   11 was carrying   12 used

13 got   14 looked   15 were bleeding   16 cleaned

17 went   18 were enjoying   19 gave

20 was bleeding   21 went

4. Complete the second sentence so that it has a similar meaning to the first.

I hurt finger while I was playing the guitar.

 I was playing the guitar when I hurt finger.

I was walking home when it started to rain.

 While I ____________

She broke her leg while she was learning to ski.

 She was learning ____________

He was making lunch when he suddenly felt ill.

 As he ____________

She was telling me about her party when she started to laugh loudly.

 She started ____________

I lost wallet while I was shopping.

 While I ____________

As the band were playing their first song, all the lights went out.

     The band were playing ____________

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2 While I was walking home, it started to snow.

3 She was learning to ski when she broke her leg.

4 As he was making lunch, he suddenly felt ill.

5 She started to laugh when she was telling me about her party.

6 When I was shopping, I lost wallet.

7 The band were playing their first song when the lights went out.

5. Complete the sentences with your own ideas. Use the past simple or past continuous.

1 As I was getting off the bus, ____________

2 We were trying to find our hotel when ____________

3 An amazing thing happened as ____________

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your own answers

6. Complete the paragraph from a story. Use the past simple or past continuous form of the verbs in brackets.

When they 1 _____. (set out) from the hotel at eight in the morning, the sun 2 _____. (shine). They 3 _____. (walk) along the path when suddenly Emily 4 _____. (stop) and asked, ‘5 _____. (you / hear) something strange?’ Anna replied, ‘I 6 _____. (not hear) anything. What do you mean?’ A moment later, the sun 7 _____. (not shine) and the sky was black. ‘It’s a tornado!’ Anna said. ‘We need to go indoors – fast!’

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1 set out   2 was shining   3 were walking   4 stopped

5 did you hear   6 didn’t hear    7 wasn’t shining