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Stop thief!

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Stop thief!

Exercise 1
Complete the captions for the story with suitable verbs in the past simple tense.

a. It was pouring with rain one day and Penny was bored. She ................................... to bake
some cakes but ................................... that her cupboard was empty, so she
................................... to go to the store.
b. She ................................... into her car and ................................... to the store.
c. She ................................... the car and ................................... into the store, but she
................................... to lock the car door.
d. As she was waiting to pay for her groceries, she ................................... out of the window.
Someone was trying to steal her car!
e. She ................................... out of the store but her car was already disappearing down the
road.
f. She ................................... for her groceries and ................................... to the police station.
g. She was waiting to talk to a policeman at the desk and she was looking out of the window,
when she ................................... her car arrive.
h. A policeman ................................... into the station with a young man and said: 'I almost
crashed into him while he was driving at ninety through the middle of town! I think it's a
stolen car!'

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Stop thief!

Exercise 2
The captions are in the correct order, but the pictures aren’t. Match the pictures to the captions.

a
b
c
d
e
f
g
h

Exercise 3
Read the story captions again and underline all the verbs in the past continuous tense (was … -
ing).

Exercise 4
The completed story shows different uses of the past simple and the past continuous. Complete
the chart like the examples given.

past
examples past simple
continuous

Sequence of events in the past got, drove 3

Background information to a narrative was pouring 3

An action which interrupts another

An action which is interrupted by another

Two actions taking place at the same time

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Stop thief!

Exercise 5

Complete the sentences with a suitable verb in either the past simple or the past continuous.

1. Jane ................................... the dishes when she ................................... the news.

2. John ................................... his work for the evening and then he ................................... to bed.

3. It was a typical winter's day: snow ................................... and people ...................................

their hats and gloves.

4. He ................................... his leg while he ................................... to catch the bus.

5. They ................................... the game of chess they ................................... , then they

................................... the house and ................................... to the local restaurant, where they

................................... their friends.

6. While he ................................... to the conference centre, he ................................... the speech

again.

Exercise 6

Join the two halves of the sentences below.

a They were listening to music as she was stroking it. 1

b As he was reading the paper when they noticed the thief. 2

c They drove to the station and the cat was sitting on the rug. 3

d The fire was burning brightly he was eating his toast and drinking his tea. 4

e The dog bit the child's hand then they left the car and took the train. 5

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Stop thief!

Exercise 7
Work in pairs, A and B to tell a story from prompts. Be careful! The prompts are not in the
correct order.
Student A: look at the prompts 1 to 3.
Student B: look at the prompts 4 to 6.
Make sentences about your prompts in order to be able to tell parts of a story. Tell your partner
your parts of the story – you are the person who sees the fire and calls the fire service. Together,
put your sentences in the correct order to tell the full story.

Student A prompts
// = new sentence
1. 7:30 in the morning / sun shine / leave home to go to work
2. stand & watch fire / wait for fire department to arrive // people run out of apartment building
// smoke pour from windows
3. hear shout from above // woman stand at top-floor window // shout ‘Help’ // not able to
get out

Student B prompts
// = new sentence
4. pass an apartment building near house / notice smoke // see man at ground-floor window //
shout ‘fire’ // call fire department on cell phone
5. later that day / cook dinner / doorbell ring // woman from apartment building stand at door
// thank me & give me huge box of chocolates
6. fire engine arrive / firemen put ladder up to window // rescue woman & carry her down //
then put out fire

Exercise 8
Complete the sentences below with the verbs in brackets, using either the past simple or the past
continuous tense.

1. The television ................................... a strange noise all evening while I ...................................

it. (make, watch)

2. The Chinese vase ................................... off the table and ................................... as it hit the

hard floor. (fall, break)

3. She ................................... the road when the car ................................... her. (cross, hit)

4. The sun ................................... and the birds ................................... in the trees. (rise, sing)

5. I ................................... a really good sleep until you ................................... me. (have, wake)

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Stop thief!
TEACHER’S NOTES & KEY

Aim: To distinguish between the past simple and past continuous tenses, particularly with
reference to interrupted actions, and particularly in order to be able to build a narrative.
Topics: Narratives about a car theft and a fire.
Lesson phases: Exercises 1-4 20 mins; Exercises 5 & 6 10 mins; Exercise 7 15 mins; Exercise 8 10
mins. Total 55 mins.

Exercise 1
The picture story is a pictorial representation which shows a simple narrative. The students have
enough information in the gapped story to be able to supply the verbs and order the pictures.
You might find it useful to ask the students to cut out the pictures and captions, once they have
filled in the gaps, to make the ordering easier and to get a better sense of the continuity of the
story. This is obviously dependent on your resources. Allow about ten minutes for the first two
exercises so that there is plenty of time for the analysis.

1 started / decided, noticed / saw, decided 5 ran


2 got, drove 6 paid, went
3 parked, ran / went, forgot 7 saw / noticed
4 looked 8 came / walked

Exercise 2
a 3
b 8
c 5
d 2
e 6
f 1
g 7
h 4

Exercise 3
The answers are in the captions.

Exercise 4
examples past past
simple continuous
Sequence of events in the past got, drove 9
Background information to a narrative was pouring 9
An action which interrupts another looked out 9
An action which is interrupted by another was waiting to pay 9
Two actions taking place at the same time was waiting, was looking out 9

Which word can introduce an interrupted action? as


Which word can introduce an interrupting action? when
Note: An interrupted action can also be introduced by As, when or while: As / When / While I
was looking out of the window, I noticed ...
Your students may use different examples from the ones above in their analysis. Allow any that
are correct. It might be necessary to do this analysis with the students as it is quite complicated if
they find it difficult.

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Stop thief!

Exercise 5
Key
The verbs here are only suggestions. Allow any suitable verbs.
1 was doing, heard
2 finished, went
3 was falling, were wearing
4 broke, was running
5 finished, were playing, left, went, met
6 was driving, was reading (could also be read if referring to a completed action)

Exercise 6
a2 b4 c5 d3 el

Exercise 7
This exercise gives practice in the two tenses examined here and practice in forming a narrative
using past tenses. The students work in pairs with a number of prompts telling half a story each,
which they have to put together orally. Follow this procedure:
• tell the students to divide into pairs, A and B
• each student looks at the relevant prompts and writes them into correct sentences. Ensure that
they are aware of the need to use the two past tenses and the fact that the prompts are not in
the correct order
• each student tells his/her part of the story to his/her partner in narrative form. Monitor for use
of the tenses and for narrative form. Ensure that they are using the pronoun I
• the pairs decide the correct order for the story. They then retell the story as a complete
narrative
• ask one or two pairs to tell their stories to the class: the other students correct
• the students could write up the story, or write a similar story, for homework.
Key
The correct order is 1, 4, 2, 3, 6, 5.

Exercise 8
1 was making, was watching
2 fell, broke
3 was crossing, hit
4 was rising, were singing
5 was having, woke

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