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When is the past simple used?

Completed action, event, or situation in the past.

When talking about a specific (period of) time in the past. -> often indicated bij
when or an adverbial of time.
Habits/repeated actions in the past.
When is de past continuous used?

A situation or action in progress at a certain time in the past.

If this action or situation is interrupted by another event, the other event usually takes
the past simple.
Its also used when talking about two event that were taking place simultaniously.
Used in combination with always and forever to talk about repeated behaviour
(sometimes expressing annoyance).
The present perfect is used to form a bridge between past and present.
The specific time is unknown or unimportant.
Often, we can see a result in the present, or the situation is still the case.
It is used to talk about the duration of an event.

There are two forms of the present perfect: simple and continuous
Simple Continuous
Used to talk about finished actions or Used to talk about events that have
events in the past that have a result in been going on up until now/the resent
the present. Time is unimportant. past. These may be unfinished.
I have painted the door. Ive been painting that door all morning
but its still not finished.
The emphasis is on frequency. Continuous
= incorrect in this case. The emphasis is on duration.
I have won three football trophies. Ive been playing football since I was
Simple Continuous

Use it if you can ask how often? Use it if you can ask how long?
Ive been living here for three years now.
Ive never been to Thailand.
Shes been working on her new novel for
I have seen this movie twice. ages.
NB: this is a rule of thumb, exceptions
are possible! Also use it for repeated past events or
actions that continue op to the present.
Hermiones been crying a lot ever since Rons
Past simple Present
Time isperfect
unknown or unimportant.
Specific time/period in the past. There is some connection to the present.
Action or event is completed.
Often used with
Fyn saabje
Often used with adverbial of time (last
week, three years ago, during his
lifetime) and the word when.
Simple Continuous
Similar to present perfect simple but: not Similar to present perfect continuous but:
referring to events up to the present, but not referring to events up to the present,
up to (or before) a certain time in the but up to (or before) a certain time in
past. the past.
NB: unlike the pr.p.s., the past.p.s. can NB: unlike the pr.p.c., the past.p.c. can
refer to a specefic time in the past. refer to a specefic time in the past.
Some verbs are NOT usually used in the continuous form, even when we are talking about
temporary situations or states. These are called stative verbs.

So, we say Im sorry, I dont understand. rather than Im not understanding.

1. Stative verbs are often verbs connected with thinking and opinions.
She doesnt know what to do. NOT She isnt knowing what to do.
Do you agree with me?
I dont recognise it, do you?
Other verbs in this group include: believe, doubt, guess, imagine, mean, remember, think
2. Other stative verbs are connected with feelings and emotions
I like this song. Who sings it? NOT Im liking this song.
What do you want to do now?
I hate my new boss!
Other stative verbs in this group include: dislike, love, prefer. want, wish

NB although enjoy is a verb of emotion, it is used in the continuous tense

Im enjoying the party.
3. see, hear, taste, smell, feel are verbs that describe senses.

These verbs arent usually used in continuous forms. They are often used with can.
It smells of smoke in here. NOT Its smelling of smoke in here.
I cant see anything. Its too dark.
4. Stative verbs describe things that are not actions.
Look carefully at these 2 sentences.
He smells of fish.
Hes smelling the fish.
The second sentence is an action not a state. The man wants to know if the fish is OK
to eat.
I think we should go to Croatia for our holiday this year.
Sorry, what did you say? I was thinking about my holiday.
The first sentence is an opinion but the second sentence is an action.