Past simple vs past continuous

Past simple vs past continuous..jpg

Fill in the gaps with the past simple or past continuous form of the verbs in brackets

  1. I ______________ (walk) home when I ______________ (meet) Maria.

  2. John __________________ (wait) for me when I ________________ (arrive).

  3. I haven’t seen Andrew for ages. When I last _________________ (see) him, he ___________________ (try) to find a job in Dublin.

  4. He _________________ (read) the newspaper when the phone _______________ (ring).

  5. I _________________ (make) a sandwich when Mike _______________ (arrive).

  6. We ________________ (not go) out because it ________________ (rain).

  7. When I was young, I _____________ (want) to be a doctor.

  8. He usually wears sandals but when I last ______________ (see) him he _________________ (wear) boots.

  9. My brother ______________ (see) you in the park two days ago. You__________________ (play) football with Stuart.

  10. While I _________________ (work) in the garden, I _________________ (hurt) my back.


Correct answers:

1) was walking; met.
2) was waiting; arrived.
3) saw; was trying.
4) was reading; rang.
5) was making; arrived.
6) didn’t go; was raining.
7) wanted.
8) saw; was wearing.
9) saw; were playing.
10) was working; hurt.

Downloadable PDF – past simple or past continuous – quiz with answers




Past simple – quiz

Fill in the gaps with the past simple form of the verbs in brackets:

1. You and Sally _________ not a school yesterday. (to be)
2. Uncle Conrad_________ to catch his bus. (to hurry)
3. Two doctors _________ into the room. (to rush)
4. I ________ Jesse in the park. (to meet)
5. Mozart ________ more than 600 pieces of music. (to write)
6. I __________ to the cinema two times last week. (to go)
7. When did Mr Black _______? (to die)
8. She _________ happy. (to feel)
9. He _________ his hair yesterday. (to cut)
10. Brenda __________ 20 books last year. (to read)
11. Our neighbour _________ his door open by accident. (to leave)
12. My boyfriend __________ back from the war last month. (to come)
13. Our horses __________ a lot yesterday. (to eat)
14. I __________ to lock the door.(to forget)
15. The queen __________ for her servant. (to ring)

I suggest that you take a look at this post if you need to review this topic ;-): irregular verbs.

These are the correct answers:

1. hurried, 2. rushed, 3. met, 4. wrote, 5. went, 6. die, 7. felt, 8. cut, 9. read, 10. left, 11. came, 12. ate, 13. forgot, 14. rang

Downloadable PDF: Quiz on past simple (without answers)

Downloadable PDF: Quiz on past simple (with answers)



Quiz on past tenses

Fill in the gaps with a verb from the box in the past simple, past perfect simple or past perfect continuous tenses. Use each verb once:

Quiz on past tenses

Tomorrow the answers will be available on Facebook: Free English Materials (Album: Quizzes’ answers).

Taken from Hopkins, D., Cullen, P. (2007), Grammar for IELTS, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, p. 33.

Click here for an interactive version of this quiz: Quiz on past tenses.


iSLCollective (Internet Second Language Collective) is a website where you can find useful resources. You must register in order to download the handouts, but it’s for free. For example, this is a poster on daily activities:

My day

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This one is on action verbs:

action verbs

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This one is on Indirect/Reported Speech:

Reported speech1

Reported Speech 2

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On this website, you can also find this kind of printable handouts:

Worksheet on Past Simple vs Continuous Correct answers worksheet past simple vs continuous

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As you can see, there are grammar rules for a quick review, then exercises with answer keys.