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Exercise 6.2: Simple Present and Present Progressive

Choose the correct word or phrase in each sentence.


1. That can't be right! I don't believe/ not believing it!

2. Caroline can't swim today. She has/is having a cold.

3. See you in the morning. I leave/I'm leaving now.

4. What do you do/are you doing? If you drop it, it will explode!

5. Stop doing that, Bill! You're/You're being very silly.

6. I drive/I'm driving! You can sit in the back with Martin.

7. What do we eat/are we eating this evening? I'm really hungry!

8. You're a great cook! This cake tastes/is tasting wonderful.

9. Where do you go/are you going? I haven't finished speaking to you!

10. Chemistry is hard. I don't understand/ not understanding it.

11. You're very quiet. What do you think/are you thinking about?

12. What do you think/are you thinking about my idea?

13. How long has Simon known/has Simon been knowing Maria?

14. What does this word mean?/is this word meaning?

15. Did you hear/Were you hearing the news?

16. You don't watch/You aren't watching the TV at the moment. Why don't you switch it off?

17. I'm sorry, but I didn't remember/I wasn't remembering to get your newspaper when I went shopping.

18. Do you like/Are you liking this painting?

19. She has always wanted /She has always been wanting to be a doctor.

20. The man was a stranger to me. I had never seen/I had never been seeing him before.


Simple past tense: The simple past is used for a completed action that happened at one specific time in the past. The italicized words are important because they show that simple past is not the same as past progressive or present perfect.

John went to Spam last year.

Bob bought a new bicycle yesterday.

Maria did her homework last night.

Mark washed the dishes after dinner.

We drove to the grocery store this afternoon.

George cooked dinner for his family Saturday night.


Past progressive (continuous):

Use the following rule to form the past progressive.

subject + was were + verb + -ing


The past progressive is used to indicate:

(1) An action which was occurring in the past and was interrupted by another action. In this case, the general rule is:

when + subject 1 + simple past tense + subject 2 + past progressive


subject 1 + past progressive + when + subject 2 + simple past tense.

When Mark came home, Martha was watching television.


Martha was watching television when Mark came home.


(2) Two actions occurring at the same time in the past. In this case, the following rules usually apply.

subject 1 + past progressive + while + subject 2 + past progressive .


while + subject 1 + past progressive + subject 2 + past progressive


Martha was watching television while John was reading a book.


While John was reading a book, Martha was watching television.

NOTE: The following construction is also possible, but it is not as common as the preceding two.


while + subject 1 + past progressive + subject 2 + simple past


While Martha was watching television, John read a book.


(3) An action which was occurring at some specific time in the past.

Martha was watching television at seven o'clock last night.

What were you doing at one o'clock this afternoon?


Examples of past progressive:

John was walking to class when he lost his pen.

The student was reading while the professor was speaking.

George was watching television when his brother called.

Henry was eating a snack at midnight last night.

When Mary came home, her husband was cooking dinner.

Mark was driving on Main Street when his car broke down.

Date: 2015-12-11; view: 1574

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