Lesson 63 – 12 Tiny Men – Past Simple vs. Past Continous

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IN YOUR LANGUAGE (Top right > Select language > Click on the flags).



  • One of the biggest stars in…
  • At the tender age of 12
  • Has climbed the ladder of success
  • Soaring the dizzying heights of fame
  • Has joined us today
  • To talk about his past
  • What the future may hold
  • Thanks for having me
  • Let’s talk about…
  • How you got into acting
  • Where did it all start?
  • They travelled across America
  • They were looking for…
  • My father worked as a…
  • We spent a lot of time…
  • We didn’t have a television
  • Played a big part in my life
  • That’s interesting
  • You played the part of…
  • Depicting the tragic life of…
  • Having some insight into…
  • I’d never really thought about…
  • It was a ritual
  • They watched it before…
  • I was mesmerised by
  • He was struggling with…
  • I remembered every line of…
  • It had been a year since…
  • Had been asked to…
  • Has done great in its first week
  • Looks to break many records
  • What are you working on now?
  • Going back to my roots
  • Trying to get over writers block
  • My father is going to be…
  • I’ve been so busy
  • It’s been difficult finding time to
  • It’s a great movie
  • We all look forward to…



-12 Tiny Men-

Lesson 63 -12 Tiny Men

Interviewer: Patrick Norton is one of the biggest stars in Hollywood today. From his debut in “To kick a hummingbird” at the tender age of 12, Patrick has climbed the ladder of success and is now soaring the dizzying heights of fame. With the release of his new blockbuster “12 Tiny Men” Patrick has joined us today to talk about his past, his present and what the future may hold for America’s best loved actor.

Patrick, hi! How are you?

Patrick: Hi, I‘m great! Thanks for having me.

Interviewer: Let’s talk about how you got into acting. Where did it all start?

Patrick: Well, my parents were a cross between beatniks and hippies. They travelled across America in a camper van. They were looking for, what they perceived to be, the American dream. My father worked as a writer for an obscure music magazine so we spent a lot of time following touring bands. Of course, we didn’t have a television so music played a big part in my life.

Interviewer: That’s interesting. Being that you played the part of the son in “To kick a hummingbird” depicting the tragic life of country and western singer, Patsy Cass.

Patrick: Yes, having some insight into that world certainly helped my performance. I’d never really thought about acting until I watched “Sunrise Street” with the country rock band “Holden”. It was a ritual they had. They watched it before every gig.

I was mesmerised by Joe Shaefer’s performance, how he was struggling with his own creativity. I remembered every line of his from that film and began reciting it, much to the delight of the band members.

It had been a year since the untimely death of Patsy Cass and Holden had been asked to star in a film about her life. Impressed by my performance, they agreed only if I had a part in the film. The casting agent auditioned me for the part of Sonny Green, friend to Max Cass, Patsy’s son. However, they were so impressed with my reading that they gave me the part of Max.

Interview: And you’ve been an actor ever since. Well, your new release “12 Tiny Men” has done great in its first week and looks to break many records. What are you working on now?

Patrick: Well, I’m kind of going back to my roots, I guess. It’s a road movie about a writer who is trying to get over writer’s block. My father is going to be my consultant, which is great as I’ve been so busy it’s been difficult finding time to spend with my family.

Interview: Patrick Norton, it has been a pleasure chatting with you. Good luck with “12 Tiny Men”, it’s a great movie! I’m sure we all look forward to seeing your next opus!

Facts: Leonardo DiCaprio is one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood, making a whopping 77 million dollars for his movies. From humble beginnings as Glen in The New Lassie (1989) to an Oscar nomination for his supporting role as Arnie Grape in What’s eating Gilbert Grape (1993), Leo has gone on to appear in more than 30 films and television shows.


Interactive Video Comprehension Quiz 1

Summary Statements Comprehension Quiz 2

Drag and Drop Quiz 3: 



We principally use the past simple to describe events in the past. It’s commonly used to

express the idea that an action started and finished at a specific time in the past. Sometimes,

the speaker may not actually mention the specific time, but they do have one specific time in


This is why this past tense is used when we refer to actions which happened yesterday, last

week, last Saturday, last month, in 1994, etc.


Last year, I travelled to China.

watched a film yesterday.

Last week, Patrick worked too much.

This morning, Alice woke up at 7.

It is also used when we explain a biography:

William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright. He lived from 1564 to 1616…

Remember that with regular verbs the past simple end in –ed:

Before studying Politics, I studied Economics.

Jamie failed his exam because he didn’t study enough.

Note that there are some verbs with a special spelling:

To copy  →  Copied To plan →  Planned To stop  →  Stopped
To study  →  Studied To try  → Tried To map  →  Mapped

tried to convince him, but it was impossible.

We planned the trip, but the weather let us down.

There are also a lot of irregular verbs:

infinitive Form Past Simple infinitive Form Past Simple
To begin Began To leave Left
To break Broke To lose Lost
To bring Brought To make Made
To build Built To meet Met
To buy Bought To pay Paid
To catch Caught To put Put
To come Came To read Read
To do Did To ring Rang
To drink Drank To say Said
To eat Ate To see Saw
To fall Fell To sell Sold
To find Found To sit Sat
To fly Flew To sleep Slept
To forget Forgot To speak Spoke
To get Got To stand Stood
To give Gave To take Took
To go Went To tell Told
To have Had To think Thought
To hear Heard To win Won
To know Knew To write Wrote

In interrogative and negative forms, we use did/didn’t like auxiliary forms:

To Enjoy:

Interrogative Form Negative Form
Did I enjoy it? didn’t enjoy it.
Did you enjoy it? You didn’t enjoy it.
Did he enjoy it? He didn’t enjoy it.
Did she enjoy it? She didn’t enjoy it.
Did it enjoy it? It didn’t enjoy it.
Did we enjoy it? We didn’t enjoy it.
Did they enjoy it? They didn’t enjoy it.

Did you call him yesterday?

No. I didn’t call anyone. I was busy.

We use the past continuous to express that we were in the middle of an activity at a certain time. The action had already begun before this time, but had not finished.


Yesterday John and Ian studied at the library from 9 o’clock to 11 o’clock.


At 10 o’ clock they were studying.

Sometimes the past simple and the past continuous can be brought together in the same sentence to express that an action happened in the middle of something else:


Someone stopped me when I was walking down the street.

She fell down when she was running in the park.

His mobile phone rang while he was working.


You have to use the past simple to express that one action happened after another (consecutive actions):

His mobile phone rang while he was working. Then, he answered it and he started to talk.

Remember that the following verbs can’t be used in a continuous form:

To believe To belong To consist
To contain To fit To know
To hate To like To love
To mean To need To prefer
To realise To remember To suppose
To seem To understand To want

Liz was having fun but I really wanted to leave. (Not: I was wanting)



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