Simple past for completed actions

This is a question from ‘Apple’ in Germany.

Question

I had a test to day and there was a question that I really struggled with: ________(they go) out yesterday evening? Is it were they going out or did they go out? I think it’s the past continues because of the yesterday evening in the questions. Is my answer right? And if not why ? 

Answer

Hi ‘Apple’!

When a past action is finished (here ‘to go out’) and the time of that action is set and completed in the past (‘yesterday evening’), we use the Simple Past:

  • They went out yesterday evening.

If you used the Past Continuous it would usually need to be qualified by another action in the Simple Past:

  • They were going out yesterday evening when it started to rain.

Your sentence though, as it is, would use the SImple Past only.

Take a look at the:

In the English4Today online grammar.

Anthony Hughes
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