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I was doing (past continuous) and I did (past simple)

Louisa was listening to music.

Her mum called her because she needed help in the kitchen.

Louisa stopped listening to music.

She went into the kitchen to help her mum.


Past simple

What did Louisa do when her mum called her?

She stopped listening to music and went into the kitchen.


Past continuous

What was Louisa doing when her mum called her?

She was listening to music.


Past simplePast continuous
What did you do yesterday?What were you doing yesterday?
We jumped on the trampoline.We were jumping on the trampoline.
My mum read a Charlotte Bronte book yesterday.My mum was reading a Charlotte Bronte book.
Did you watch Eastenders last night?Were you watching Eastenders when I phoned you?
It didn’t snow last winter.It wasn’t snowing when I woke up.
I started work at 6am.I was working.
They waited for me at the bus stop every morning.They were waiting for me at the bus stop.


More examples of past simple sentences:


I watched television.

They left the house without cleaning their bedroom.

She rang her friend every evening

We made spaghetti for dinner.


More examples of past continuous:


I was watching television when grandma rang me.

They were leaving the house without cleaning their bedroom.

She was ringing her friend when someone knocked on the floor.

We were making spaghetti.



I was doing (past continuous) and I did (past simple) Exercises..


  1. Fill in the missing gaps using the correct verb either past continuous or past simple from the verbs given.


rest          fall         cook         break         watch          go          tell          sit          relax

Katie _________ off her bike and she _________ her leg. She _______ to hospital and they _________ her that she will need to  ___________. When she got home she _________ on the sofa and ____________ her leg on top of a cushion. Whilst her mum was ____________ soup for her, she was __________________ television.



  1. Change the following past simple sentences into past continuous sentences. Remember to add extra information at the end of the sentence when appropriate.


  • I began to do my homework. __________________________________________________________________________________

  • I drank a cup of hot chocolate. ___________________________________________________________________________________

  • I had a party for my 16th birthday. ___________________________________________________________________________________

  • I met a friend on holiday. ___________________________________________________________________________________

  • Me and my mum went out for lunch and I paid for the meal. ___________________________________________________________________________________

  • I rang my grandma. ___________________________________________________________________________________

  • I went to town. ___________________________________________________________________________________


Challenge: The following questions and answers are incomplete. Use your understanding on past continuous and past simple to complete them.


James: What _______________________________ when I rang you?

Thomas: I __________________________________ a book.

Lucy: Was Louise ______________________________ when you went to her house?

Jane: Yes, she _________________________________________________________

Kate: What did _______________________________ last weekend?

John: I _________________________________________________________________________________


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