Improve your English! Learn past simple and past continuous

Mar 01, 2012

Hi guys.

We're going to continue the theme of verb forms. Remember, you can't use use verb tenses until you know what they are, so we're going through each of the 11 basic verb tenses. Today, we're going to do the past simple and past continous.

5. Past simple

The form of the past simple is easy for regular verbs. Just take the infinitive without to and add -ed for most verbs.


  1. For verbs that end in -y change the y to an i: hurry→hurried.

  2. For verbs that end in consonant vowel consonant, double the final consonant: fit→fitted.

For English irregular verbs, make sure you learn the list- there is no other way.

Also remember that pronunciation is very important with -ed. See my first post.

6. Past continuous

Remember, all continuous English tenses use be + present participle.  In the past continous, that becomes was/were + present participle.

The present participles are the the same as for the present continuous.

(i) for verbs which end in a single e, take off the e.
I was arriving  but   The boy was being
You were making  
but  They were seeing

T(ii) for verbs which end in –ie, change that to –y:
The boy was lying
She was dying

(iii) for verbs which end in consonant,vowel, consonant, double the last consonant.

The mother was hitting
I was swimming

It's surprising that even advanced English students and exam students taking Ielts for example don't always know these forms but they are vital.

Good luck with your studies. See you Monday.

Click here to enrol for English courses in London.


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