The Simple Past combines with other past tenses, such as the Past Progressive and the Past Perfect, when we are talking or writing about the past. Note that the Past Progressive is used for scene-setting. Past tenses of various kinds are common in story-telling, biography, autobiography, reports, eye-witness accounts, etc.:

  • On March 14th at 10.15 a.m. I was waiting for a bus at the bus stop on the corner of Dover Road and West Street when a black Mercedes parked at the stop. Before the driver (had) managed to get out of his car, a number 14 bus appeared.


  • It was evening. The sun was setting. A gentle wind was blowing through the trees. In the distance I noticed a Land Rover moving across the dusty plain. It stopped and two men jumped out of it.


  • It was just before the Second World War. Tom was only 20 at the time and was living with his mother. He was working in a bank and travelling to London every day. One morning, he received a mysterious letter. It was addressed to 'Mr Thomas Parker'.