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The research question addressed is, what can one learn about the interlanguage of Spanish-speaking ELLs in an ABE program from their choices between simple past and past progressive verb forms, explanations of their choices, and corresponding choices of verb forms in L1? A key influence was Klein's analysis of tense and aspect. In this study, eight participants made forced choices between simple past and past progressive in three short narratives involving pictures and text. In an immediate retrospective protocol in L1, they reported reasons for their choices and then, prompted by the pictures without text, retold the stories. The most common reason for their selection of aspectual morphology was their perception of whether action was completed or ongoing, but several participants gave erroneous or idiosyncratic explanations for some choices. Degree of comprehension of the forms did not correlate with length of formal study of English.