- It rained at noon.
It was raining at noon.
I slept at 5 o'clock yesterday.
- I was sleeping at 5 yesterday.
Actually, I seem to understand progressive quite well. But what is about the correct use of the past?
English Language Learners Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for speakers of other languages learning English. It only takes a minute to sign up.Sign up to join this community
1 and 3 apply to events which happened at those times. They could have been instantaneous events, or events of a short duration. So "it rained at noon" would mean that there was a short rainstorm at noon. (I don't really like the phrase "I slept at 5 o'clock" because sleep isn't a short duration event. I much prefer "I fell asleep at 5 o'clock".)
2 and 4 refer to continuous events over a period of time, where the time mentioned falls within that period.