Results 1 to 3 of 3
  1. Senior Member
    Interested in Language
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Italian
      • Home Country:
      • Italy
      • Current Location:
      • Italy

    • Join Date: Aug 2006
    • Posts: 769

    past simple or past continuous

    When doing an exercise I came across this sentence:
    - Sorry I couldn't come on Friday, but I.....................(to work) on my project.

    I had to choose between the past simple (worked) and the past continuous (was working) and I finally chose the past simple because I figured out that the action was linked to "on Friday", so it should be over. But, in the answer key part, I read that only the past continuous is correct in this case. What do you think about it? Do not you think the action may be seen as a finished one too?

    And, by the way, could the past perfect continuous (had been working) be possible in this sentence?

    Thanks so much for your answers.

  2. Member
    Student or Learner
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Twi
      • Home Country:
      • Bhutan
      • Current Location:
      • Tuvalu

    • Join Date: Jun 2011
    • Posts: 124

    Re: past simple or past continuous


    Not a teacher.

    The simple past continuous also happend in the past and is ended. You stress with the progressive form the duration of your work and not only the fact that you have worked. So, when the meeting was on Friday, you were busy working and couldn't join.

    "Had been working" wouldn't fit here because your work and the meeting on Friday happend at the same time in the past and therefore you weren't able to join your friends.

    Please correct me if I am wrong. Corrections are always appreciated.

  3. 5jj's Avatar
    VIP Member
    Retired English Teacher
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 28,134

    Re: past simple or past continuous

    You can very often answer this sort of question by putting yourself back in time.

    Did you say, "I am sorry I can't come, but I work" or "...but I am working"? It should be clear that only the second is natural; so put the whole thing in the past and we have,

    Sorry I couldn't come on Friday, but I was working ... .

Similar Threads

  1. simple past and past continuous in this sentence
    By ripley in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 26-Feb-2011, 21:03
  2. [Grammar] Simple past Tense,past continuous
    By ngocvy0802 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 27-Oct-2009, 13:39
  3. [Grammar] Past simple, past continuous and past perfect
    By fuadha in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 18-Aug-2009, 12:17
  4. simple past - past perfect continuous interrogativedifferences
    By Unregistered9996 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 26-Dec-2007, 04:05
  5. past simple/past continuous question
    By makaveli in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 09-May-2006, 09:15


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts