Past Simple/Progressive – Free Exercise

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Choose the correct tense (simple past or past progressive).

  1. While Charlie golf, his wife a book in the lounge.both actions took place simultaneously → past progressive
  2. He a number.the actions took place sequentially → simple past
  3. While I around Australia, I many interesting places.1st space: the process/progression of the action is emphasised → past progressive|2nd space: shorter actions took place during the duration of the journey → simple past

Complete the sentences. Decide if you need to use the simple past or the past progressive.

  1. While Steve (watch)   football on TV,
    Monica (listen)   to the radio.Both actions took place simultaneously over a longer period of time → past progressive
  2. When I (walk)   down Fifth Avenue,
    I (discover)   a wonderful boutique.During a longer-lasting action, something new took place|1st space: past progressive|2nd space: simple past
  3. The angry little girl (throw)   her toy onto the floor and (stamp)   her foot.short, sequentially occurring actions → simple past|With the past progressive, the sentence would sound as if the action was taking place in a repeating loop.
  4. I (receive)   your SMS while
    I (sit)   in the doctor’s waiting room.The first action took place when the second action was already occurring.|1st space: simple past|2nd space: past progressive
  5. When Ruth (be)   little,
    she (hate)   the smell of coffee.The verbs be and hate are two of the verbs that are generally not used in the progressive form. → simple past