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Simple Past

takes the past form of verbs and refers to actions we know that took place at a certain point in the past. This fact we know because it usually comes with past time expressions like yesterday, some time ago, last year, when I was a boy,etc

ex: "I had a white horse when I lived in the ranch"

      "Last week uncle James brought a new chicken to the farm."



takes auxiliary DID as in


"Did you bring what I told you to bring ? "


and the verb goes back to infinitive (BRING)

as well as short answers like

Yes I did/ No, I didn't




takes DIDN'T  as in


"I didn't bring anything, I'm sorry."


and the verb goes back to infinitive too (BRING)






Past Continous


"I was having a wonderful time in the farm and it started to rain."


is formed with




and  talks about actions in the past but they are actions in progress,that is, we do not know  when they started.


They are usually the background for other actions and combine with other sentences using past continous and simple past. These are the most frequent combinations


1. simple past combines with past continous:

this is a very frequent combination and shows an action suddenly happening while another is developing. The adverb  WHEN  or particle AND are easy to find here.


" I was having a bath when/and  the telephone rang"


2. simple past combines with another simple past:

in this case the second action is usually understood as a consequence of the first.


"The teacher opened the door and the children started to feel cold. (=the children felt cold because the teacher opened the door)


3. past continuous combines with another past continous: here we show that both actions developed together in the past.


Particles WHILE / AS are easily found here


"They were having a sleep while/as the  festival was still going on."