Past Simple vs. Past Continuous ESL Activities, Worksheets and Games

Exclusive

Past Tense Exchange

ESL Past Simple and Past Continuous Activity - Grammar and Speaking: Writing, Asking and Answering Questions, Controlled and Freer Practice - Group and Pair Work - Pre-intermediate (A2) - 30 minutes

This past simple vs. past continuous speaking activity helps students practice forming, asking and answering conversation questions in the past simple and past continuous tense. First, in two groups, students complete each conversation question in the past simple or past continuous using the verb to be or do, the verb in brackets and the pronoun 'you'. Next, students pair up with someone from the other group and take turns asking and answering the conversation questions with their partner, responding in the past simple or past continuous, according to the tense of each question. Afterwards, students share what they found out about their partner with the class.
Past Tense Exchange Preview
Preview
 
Exclusive

Accidental Inventions

ESL Past Simple and Past Continuous Activity - Grammar and Speaking: Gap-fill, Asking and Answering Questions from Prompts, Freer Practice - Group Work - Intermediate (B1) - 30 minutes

In this engaging engaging past simple and past continuous activity, students take on the role of famous inventors and find out about accidental inventions in order to practice the two tenses. First, in groups, students complete their inventor card with the past simple or past continuous form of the verbs in brackets to explain what happened. Students then find out how the other inventors in their group accidentally created their inventions by asking questions to each inventor to find out what happened, noting down the answers in a chart. Finally, students use the information in the chart and inventions from a box to complete past simple and past continuous sentences, indicating what each invention was, who invented it, and how.
Accidental Inventions Preview
Preview
 
Exclusive

Alibi

ESL Murder Mystery Activity - Speaking: Role-Play, Asking and Answering Questions - Group Work - Intermediate (B1) - 30 minutes

In this intriguing past simple and past continuous activity, students solve a murder by listening to people talk about what they were doing at particular times in the past and looking for inconsistencies in alibis. Tell the students that between 4:00 and 5:00 on Saturday afternoon, Mr. Smith was murdered and that everyone is a suspect. Each student takes on the role of a murder suspect and is given a card showing their alibi at the time of the murder. Students read their alibi and memorize it. The students' task is to identify the murderer by detecting the inconsistent alibi. Students walk around asking other suspects for their alibis and noting down the information on a worksheet. The first student to identify the murderer by detecting the inconsistent alibi wins.
Alibi Preview
Preview
 
Exclusive

Past Simple or Past Continuous?

ESL Past Simple vs. Past Continuous Worksheet - Grammar Exercises: Categorising, Gap-fill, Matching, Writing Sentences from Prompts - Intermediate (B1) - 25 minutes

This free past simple and past continuous worksheet helps students learn and practice how and when to use the past continuous, in contrast with the past simple. First, students read situations and categorize them based on whether the past simple or past continuous is used. Next, students complete sentences with verbs in brackets in the past simple or past continuous. Students then match past simple and past continuous sentences with the situations in the first exercise. After that, students match timelines with the situations. Students then write past simple or past continuous sentences corresponding to the timelines using prompts, adding time adverbs, and other information where appropriate.
Past Simple or Past Continuous? Preview
Preview
 
Exclusive

What were you doing when...?

ESL Past Simple vs. Past Continuous Game - Grammar and Speaking: Gap-fill, Guessing, Asking and Answering Questions from Prompts - Group and Pair Work - Intermediate (B1) - 25 minutes

This fun past simple vs. past continuous game helps students practice forming and answering questions with the past simple and past continuous. First, in two groups, students complete questions in the past simple or past continuous using verbs in brackets. Next, students pair up with someone from the other group. Students then guess what their partner's answer will be for each question and write their guesses in a chart. After that, students take turns asking the questions to their partner, who answers in the past simple or past continuous, according to the tense of each question. Students write their partner's answers in the chart and put a tick next to each correct guess. The student with the most correct guesses wins the game.
What were you doing when...? Preview
Preview
 
Exclusive

When and While

ESL When and While Worksheet - Grammar Exercises: Gap-fill, Binary Choice, Changing Word Forms, Identifying, Sentence Completion - Intermediate (B1) - 25 minutes

In this useful when and while worksheet, students learn and practice three rules associated with using when and while with the past simple and past continuous. Students begin by completing two grammar rules and examples for using the past simple and past continuous with when and while. Students then underline the correct past tenses in a set of sentences using the two rules. Next, students complete a short story with verbs in brackets in their past simple or past continuous forms. After that, students are introduced to another rule for using when and while. Students then indicate whether they can use when, while or both as the missing word in each sentence. Finally, students complete sentences with their own ideas using the grammar rules.
When and While Worksheet Preview
Preview
 
Exclusive

A Tense Match

ESL Past Simple and Past Continuous Game - Grammar: Matching, Gap-fill - Pair Work - Upper-intermediate (B2) - 20 minutes

This enjoyable past simple and past continuous game helps students review sentences containing past simple and past continuous clauses. In pairs, students take turns turning over one sentence beginning card and one ending card. If the two parts match to make a suitable sentence containing a past simple and past continuous clause, the student writes the verbs in brackets in their past simple and past continuous forms. The student then keeps the two cards and has another turn. If not, the cards are turned back over, keeping them in the same place. The student with the most pairs of cards at the end of the game wins. Afterwards, elicit the correct answers from the class.
A Tense Match Preview
Preview
 

ESL Essentials eBook Series

New Teaching Resources eBooks

Now Available!

Get Started Here

LATEST FREE
RESOURCES

LATEST MEMBER
RESOURCES