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Lesson 1A

Simple Past or Past Progressive Tense

Why do people use the simple past tense? What does it mean? Why do people use the past progressive tense? What does it mean? Many students ask these questions. In this lesson, you will learn the meaning of the simple past tense and the past progressive tense. You will hear people using these tenses. This will help you learn the two tenses better.

Simple Past

We use the simple past to talk about the way things were in the past.

The town was small.

NOT The town was being small.

He was young, and he looked like a movie star.

NOT He was being young, and he was looking like a movie star.

The kitchen smelled of freshly baked bread.

NOT The kitchen was smelling of freshly baked bread.

The coffee tasted awful.

NOT The coffee was tasting awful.

She seemed smart.

NOT She was seeming smart.

She weighed three kilograms when she was a week old.

NOT She was weighing three kilograms when she was being a week old.

Similarly, we use the simple past tense to describe the way we felt, the way we thought, and the way we sensed things. We also use the simple past tense to talk about the things we owned.

Feeling

We were happy.

She didn’t like cheese.

He loved his mother.

They needed to meet her.

Thinking

We knew the answers.

They understood the problem.

She believed him.

Sensing

I saw my friend.

She heard the news.

Owning

They had a lot of money.

We owned a house.

We also use the simple past tense to talk about actions that were finished in the past. The action started, and then it ended. It is over.