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  #1 (permalink)  
Unread Mar 21st, 2007, 05:45 am
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gervais is on a distinguished road
Unhappy past actions!

Hello everyone,

I have started to introduce the past continuous in class and the students were bit confused when i wrote the following examples on the board:

"Sylvie arrived home at 8 O'clock and Tim cooked the dinner."
"Sylvie arrived home at 8 O'clock and Tim had cooked the dinner."
"Sylvie arrived home at 8 O'clock and Tim was cooking the dinner."

I drew timelines to explain the different actions and they understood the use of the "past perfect" and "past continuous" with the past simple, but they had a lot of trouble understanding the first sentence. The thing they couldn't understand was that Tim started to cook when Sylvie arrived home. They thought that Tim had finished the cooking. I tried explaining as simply as possible but they were still confused at the end of the lesson.

My questions are: what is the exact grammar rule of the first sentence? How can i explain that here, the past simple indicates that Tim started cooking when Sylvie arrived home?
And do you know if there are any good games that would be suitable for this grammar point?

My students are indermediate adults.

Thank you for your help.

Jake
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Unread Mar 22nd, 2007, 10:42 pm
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Default Re: past actions!

Basically, if you use past simple by itself, without past continuous or past perfect, the actions occur in the order you mention them.

She ran, hid, ran again and jumped over the fence.

The actions occurred in the order mentioned. That's all there is to it.
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Unread Mar 23rd, 2007, 09:50 am
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Clive Hawkins
 
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Default Re: past actions!

It's as Emile says.

I use the example:

I got up, got undressed, had a shower and got dressed.

I then ask the students what I did first after I got up, then after that, and after that.

It seems pretty obvious but sometimes you need something simple to make it sink in. Often they think things should be more complicated than they actually are!
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  #4 (permalink)  
Unread Mar 26th, 2007, 03:16 am
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Wink Re: past actions!

Thanks a lot for your answers!! I try that with and see if they understand.

Have a good day.
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