Sep 1, 2008

The Pursuit of Happyness: Simple Past x Past Continuous

This movie has a great message and the story is touching. My opinion is that the film is too down in the mouth, but the last 5 minutes are uplifting. Not my cup of tea, but most people really enjoyed it. The scene, though, is perfect for practicing the contrast between the simple past and the past continuous tenses.

Watch the movie segment and fill in the blanks with the simple past or the past continuous form of the verbs in parentheses.

1) Chris _________________ (cook) burgers for breakfast when his landlord ________________ (knock) on his door.

2) The police ______________ (arrest) Chris when he ________________ (paint) the house.

3) Chris _______________ (pay) some parking tickets when the officer __________ (tell) him he was supposed to spend the night in jail.

4) When Chris __________ (call) his ex-wife, she _____________ (work) hard.

5) When he _______________ (enter) the elevator, he _____________ (try) to button up his jacket.

1) He __________________ (wait) in the waiting room when the secretary _________ (call) out his name.

2) When he ___________________ (walk) through the office, businesspeople _______________ (talk) on the phone, _______________ (speak) very loudly, and _______________ (work) a lot.

3) The Board _____________ (wait) for Chris when the secretary ___________ (announce) him.

Answer Key:

1. was cooking / knocked
2. arrested / was painting
3. was paying /told
4. called / was working
5. entered/ was trying
6. was waiting / called
7. walked / were talking - speaking - working
8. was waiting / announced

How to prepare your own video activity:
Grammar Goal: Simple Past x Past Continuous

• Select a scene in which the characters’ actions are interrupted during the segment.
• Prepare an exercise in which the students have to identify when to use the target structures.
• Make sure the students know when to use both verb tenses before they actually do the exercise.




Anonymous said...

This worksheet was very useful, students enjoyed the movie and
the simple and continuous tenses were clearly understood.

Claudio Azevedo said...

Great. I'm glad they enjoyed it. Come back often

Patiris said...

Congrats!!!Perfect Job!
This activity is great for students because they can see how it really works ...
Thanks so much for sharing it with us (other teachers).

Claudio Azevedo said...

Thanks. Come back for more. See you.

Anonymous said...


Claudio Azevedo said...

Thanks for your words. Come back often.

Laura said...

Hi Claudio. This is such a great blog and i just want to echo the thoughts of all your other admirers who have made good use of the site. I'm planning a lesson with some intermediate learners for tomorrow night on the past simple/cont and this clip will be great. Just one minor thing to point out though, this clip is not from the end of the movie. Rather the 3rd section. I know this because i've been searching for a higher quality version on Youtube for a few hours now on and off! Here's the Youtube link if anyone is having the same problem as me :)

Keep up the great work!

mettok said...

It was very useful and clear. Thank you

marcela brennand said...

Claudio, você não teria como postar os videos com qualidade um pouco melhor?

Claudio Azevedo said...

Os videos de postagens mais antigas são mais dificeis de melhorar a qualidade. Uma leitora colocou o link Verifique se lá está melhor. Aí voce coloca no ponto que quiser.

Claudio Azevedo said...

Tentei colocar um video com melhor qualidade para voce. Espero que seja util. Tente agora, por favor.

Unknown said...

Hello there, this is a fabulous page. I've been looking for everywhere for a website like this to work with my students, and this has been very helpfull. I'm an english teacher from Argentina, you can find our Facebook page at "Lucky English Institute" if you wanna share ideas. Thanks again, pretty fine job.


Anonymous said...

Claudio, I'd like to thank you for your generosity when posting this wonderful activities for free. They are not only useful but also really entertaining and students love them! Besides, they work like a charm :)
Thanks again!

Claudio Azevedo said...

Great to hear that. Really motivating. Thanks.