Put the verbs in brackets into the appropriate present forms.
Friday afternoon at MacGruder’s department store
It’s a normal Friday afternoon at MacGruder’s Department Store. At this moment in the shoe department, a young man and his wife 1).....(try)to buy new shoes for their three small children. The kids 2).....(wiggle)and 3).....(scream)and 4).....(chase)each other around. The salesman, George, 5) ..... (go)crazy. He 6).....(wait on)the family for the past hour with no success. Either the shoes 7).....(not fit), or the children’s father 8).....(think)they’re too expensive.
Over at the jewelry counter, Julie 9).....(have)a hard time, too. She 10).....(run)back and forth all afternoon. One lady 11).....(try on)earrings for twenty-five minutes and 12).....(not put)them back on the rack, so now there is a mountain of earrings on the counter.
Meanwhile, Beth Ellen, the store detective, 13).....(walk)slowly around the store since she arrived at 10:00. Her feet 14).....(kill)her the whole time. Every day, she 15).....(walk)around and 16).....(try)to look like a normal shopper while she 17).....(do)her job catching shoplifters. Unfortunately, Beth Ellen 18).....(not catch)a single shoplifter in the past year because she can’t see well, and she 19).....(refuse)to wear her glasses.
Up in his office right now, Mr. MacGruder 20).....(stand)by a small window which 21).....(look)out over the first floor of his store. He 22).....(see)a customer at the jewelry counter secretly putting expensive earrings into her purse. Beth Ellen 23).....(walk)right past her at this very moment, but of course she 24).....(not see)the woman steal the earrings because she 25).....(not wear)her glasses. Mr. MacGruder’s face 26).....(begin)to turn purple, and now he 27).....(tear)out his hair. He 28).....(regret)hiring Beth Ellen as the store detective ever since his sister persuaded him to, but he can’t do anything about it because the girl 29).....(be)his niece.
We use the past simple:
a) for an action which happened at a definite time in the past. The time is stated, already known or implied.
They wentcamping by the lake last month.
We use the past continuous:
a) for an action which was in progress at a stated time in the past. We do not mention when the action started or finished.
At seven o’clock yesterday evening they were having dinner.
b)for actions which happened immediately one after the other in the past.
First she paid the driver , then she got out of the taxi.
b)for an action which was in progress when another action interrupted it. We use the past continuous for the action in progress (longer action) and the past simple for the action which interrupted it (shorter action).
He was walking down the street when he met an old friend.
c) for past habits or states which are now finished. In such cases we can also use the expression used to.
Kitchens were / used to bevery different a hundred years ago.
c) for two or more simultaneous past actions.
She was talkingon her mobile phone while she was drivingto work.
d) to describe the atmosphere, setting, etc. in the introduction to a story before we describe the main events.
One beautiful autumn afternoon, Ben was strollingdown a quiet country lane. The birds were singingand the leaves were rustling in the breeze.
The past simple is used with the following time expressions: yesterday, then, when, How long ago...?, last night / week / month / year / Tuesday, etc., three days / weeks, etc.ago, in 1997, etc.
The past continuous is used with the following time expressions: while, when, as, all morning / evening / day / night, etc.