An Online Catalogue of English Grammar Exercises

Past Simple - meaning:
What do these sentences mean?
e.g. I met him last week/ this morning/ a month ago.
This means the action happened and is finished in the past. The time phrase tells you this period of time is finished.

What is interesting about the following sentences?
1. I fed the cat, I gave some milk to the baby, I cleaned the house, then I went out.
2. Could you lend me your telephone?
3. Before I went to Rome, I went to Athens.
4. While I was climbing the mountain, I fell and broke my leg.
5. I went for a walk because I needed the exercise.

1. I use the Simple Past to tell things in chronological order.
2. This is not about the Past. It's about now. Use the Simple Past form to be more polite. This is called 'tentative' or 'more distant' sometimes.
3. This is like the answer to l.
4. Use the Past Continuous to describe an action which was going on when something else happened - which probably interrupted the activity! It certainly did in this example.
5. The answer is the same as the answer to 1.

See The A - Z of English Grammar & Usage for the rules.

click here to go back

© 1996 - 2009