Vladimir Nazarenko
Past Simple vs Past Continuous

Hello there:)

While practising past tenses I have encountered a couple of confusing dialogues. 

A: How was your holiday?

B: Awful! It __________ (rain) the whole time.

The key says that the right answer is past simple i.e. "rained", but I tend to use past continuous there to say that an action was in progress at every moment during a period of time.

Could someone clarify I am right or not?

And here's the second one.

A: Was Jack practising his guitar again last night?

B: Why? _________________ (you/try) to call him?

Can I use past continuous there too to say that at the time Jack was practising his guitar, person A was trying to call him (an action in progress at a stated time in past)?

Really need your help.


Feb 11, 2018 2:40 PM
Comments · 2

hello, maybe I can help you with these questions.

past tense:

Awful! It rained the whole time.

past continuous:

Awful! It was raining the whole time when I tried to enjoy my holiday.

using past continuous when there were 2 events in one time, and using past tense when there was only 1 event in one time. Even it take every moment during that time.

A: Was Jack practicing his guitar again last night?

B: Why? _________________ (you/try) to call him?

Why? Did you try to call him while he practicing his guitar? 

Yes, you can use past continuous in this type of sentence.

I hope it can help you

February 11, 2018

Question A: 

The answer: "It was raining the whole time"  can be used when you are describing the situation as if you were there, even if you are talking about it at a later date. 

The answer:  "It rained the whole time" is a simpler way of saying "something happened at that time" without implying that you were there and experienced it yourself, even if you did. 

Both forms of the answer can be used.

Qestion B:

"Why didn't you (try to) call him?" I believe this is called the Interrogative negative form. See the reference below


February 11, 2018
Vladimir Nazarenko
Language Skills
English, Russian, Ukrainian
Learning Language