• For a complete action that took place at a definite time in the past. The time is either mentioned or implied.
  • For habitual or repeated actions in the past.
  • For completed actions that took place one after the other in the past.

I bought this suit last week

She always came late to the office.

I arrived home late last night, had a glass of milk and went straight to bed.

  • TIME EXPRESSIONS: Yesterday, then, last night/week/month, ago etc



  • For an action that was in progress at a definite time in the past
  • For an action that was happening when another one interrupted it. The longer action is in the past progressive and the shorter one is in the past simple.
  • For two or more actions happening at the same time in the past.

They were watching the news at 8:45 last night.

She was sweeping the floor when she found a coin.

While I was doing the washing up, my mother was cooking.

  • TIME EXPRESSIONS: while, as, when.



  • For a past action that was completed before another past action. We use the Past Perfect simple for the first action and the past simple for the second action.
  • For an action that was completed before a definite time in the past.

When we arrived at the airport, the plane had already taken off.

I had finished my homework by 6:00 p.m. yesterday.

  • TIME EXPRESSIONS: by+time, by the time, after, before, when.



  • To emphasise the duration of an action that was happening before another one in the past.
  • For an action going on in the past and its results were visible later on in the past.

I had been waiting for hours when he finally came.

The firemen looked exhausted. They had been trying to put out the fire for six hours.

  • TIME EXPRESSIONS: When, for, since, after, before, how long etc..

When we use BEFORE or AFTERto describe the first two actions that happened in the past, we can use the past simple instead of the Past perfect simple.

The students had come/ come before the teacher arrived.





     A. Choose the present simple or present continuous verb form.

  1. It’s Sunday morning and Luigi _____________a newspaper. He usually

____________ his newspaper on Sunday mornings.  (read)

     2. Look! That man ______________ to open the door of your car. (try)

     3. It’s 6 o’clock. Tim usually __________________on the computer every

     afternoon, but today he ___________________on it. He’s very tired. (work)

     4. I must go now. It _____________ late. (get)

     5. Water _______________ at 100 degrees Celsius. (boil)


     B. Choose the present perfect simple or present perfect continuous verb form.

     1. My hands are very dirty. I have repaired/have been repairing my bicycle.

     2. The ceiling was white. Now it’s blue. Somebody _______________ the ceiling. (paint)

     3. Mary _______________________ ten letters today. (write)

     4. Mary is still writing letters. She ______________________ letters all day. (write)

     5. They _____________________ football since 2 o’clock and they are still playing. (play)



     A. Choose the past simple or past continuous verb form.


     1. Mozart ___________ from 1756 to 1791. (live)

     2. This time last year I _______________ in England. (live)

     3. While I ______________ in the garden, I ____________ my back. (work – hurt)

     4. I ______________ home after the party last night. (walk)

     5. Tom _____________his hand as he ______________ dinner. (burn – cook)


    B. Choose the past perfect or past perfect continuous verb form.

    1. I was very tired when I arrived home. I had worked/had been working hard all day.

    2. You went to Jill’s house but she wasn’t there. She ______________ out. (go)

    3. The house was very quiet when we got home. Everybody ____________ to bed. (go)

    4. He was out of breath. He_______________ for a long time. (run)



     How jeans came to America.


   Put the verbs in brackets in the past simple or past continuous.


   Levi Strauss          from a small town in the south of Germany. (come) When he           a young man, he           in love with the

   mayor’s daughter. (be – fall) But the mayor and Levi’s parents               them to marry. (not want) Levi’s parents               him _____ away to New York where his brothers  ______   . (send – live) They              and they                him to sew. (be – teach)

   In 1850, Levi                    some sailcloth from New York to San Francisco when he                        some men. (take – meet) They _______ for gold in the streams and rivers. (dig)  The weather              bad. (be) It                        and the wind                             .(rain – blow) The men             cold because they                      only thin trousers. (be – wear) Suddenly, Levi                   an idea.(have) He                  the sailcloth which he                 to make trousers for the men. (use – transport) Then he             on metal  Studs to make them stronger. (sew) The men                the trousers but they               the yellow-grey colour. (love – not like). So  when Levi Strauss                  a tailor’s shop in San Francisco, he                    a special thick blue material from Nimes in France.(open – import) That’s how jeans                           blue. (become)

Use the words in brackets to write questions about Levi Strauss.


a)       _________________________________? He came from Germany. (Where … from)

b)       _________________________________? His parents sent him to America. (Where)

c)       _________________________________? His brothers taught him to sew. (What)

d)       _________________________________? In 1850 he set out for San Francisco. (When)

e)       _________________________________? He met some prospectors on the way. (Who)

f)        _________________________________? They were digging in a river. (Where)

g)       _________________________________? They were wearing thin trousers. (What)

h)       _________________________________? He made trousers from the sailcloth. (What … from)

i)         _________________________________? He imported blue material from France. (Where … from)


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