We are not really allowed to say "she was calling him 5 times today" instead we use past simple " she called him 5 times today". Can we use past continuous when we want to show that it was temporary "while he was on the trip she was calling him 5 times a day?"


1 Answer 1


When we talk about actions that happened at specific times in the past, we usually use the past simple tense. So, if you're saying "She called him 5 times today," you're spot on with using the past simple because it tells us exactly what happened today.

Now, let's talk about the past continuous tense. This tense is fantastic for setting the scene or showing actions that were ongoing in the past, especially when they're temporary or part of a larger context. So, when you say, "While he was on the trip, she was calling him 5 times a day," you're using the past continuous perfectly! It gives us this lovely picture of what was happening over a period of time (while he was away on the trip) and shows that her calling him 5 times a day was a temporary thing, just during the trip.

In summary:

Use past simple for specific actions in the past: "She called him 5 times today." Use past continuous to describe ongoing or temporary actions in the past, especially when setting the scene or describing actions within a specific time frame: "While he was on the trip, she was calling him 5 times a day." And there you have it! A bit of structure to help make sense of when to use past simple and past continuous. Keep these guidelines in mind, and you'll be crafting clear and engaging sentences in no time!

Hope this helps Bob :)

  • Yeah it does. You know how to explain things. Thank you very much
    – Bob
    Feb 24 at 17:34
  • Thank you Bob! If it's helpful please make sure to upvote my asnwer. Have a nice day :)
    – James
    Feb 24 at 17:37
  • I did. Can you think of anu context when " I have been calling you 5 times" is correct?
    – Bob
    Feb 24 at 18:01
  • "I have been calling you 5 times" can be correct in situations where you're emphasizing repeated attempts over a short period. It's used to show persistence and urgency in trying to reach someone, especially if those calls were made recently and you're still trying to contact them.
    – James
    Feb 24 at 18:15
  • Ok thanks. It is just to emphaise though, right? We don't say "I've been working in that company every single day" unless it is used to emphaise if not simple is correct. Can you imagine using past continuous here " When I was young I was going to school every single day" to again emphaise the lenght?
    – Bob
    Feb 24 at 18:22

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