Past simple tense

The Past simple tense is used to talk about a completed action in a time before now. The time of the action can be in the recent past or the distant past and action duration is not important.

Examples:

I phoned you yesterday afternoon but you did not answer.

I was in another room when you called.

You always use the simple past when you say when something happened, so it is associated with certain past time expressions

– frequency: often, sometimes, always
I often walked home at lunchtime.
– a definite point in time:last week, when I was a child, yesterday, three months ago
Yesterday, I arrived in Paris.
I went to the cinema last night.

an indefinite point in time:the other day, ages ago, a long time ago
He played the drums when he was a child.

Remember: the word ago is a useful way of expressing the distance into the past. It is placed after the period of time: a month ago, two years ago, a second ago.

 

Forming the Past simple

 

Regular Verbs

How to form:Infinitive + ed=2ndform

Examples: walk+ ed   walked
  laugh+ ed   laughed
  want+ ed   wanted
Note: cry– cried   y » i
  carry –carried   y » i
  love –loved   no e
  hope –hoped   no e
  stop – stopped   if you speak a short vowel»doubling
  drop -dropped   if you speak a short vowel»doubling

 

Irregular Verbs

1stform 2ndform 1stform 2ndform
am, is was see saw
are were do did
get got take took
go went have had

For regular verbs, add – ed to the root form of the verb ( but if the root form ends of -e, add just – d) – call- called, phone- phoned, love- loved, smile-smiled.

For irregular verbs, things get more complicated. The simple past tense of some irregular verbs looks exactly like the root form : meet-met, take-took, go-went.

 

Positive form (verbe +ed) regular verb

I studied English.

You studied English.

He, She, It studied English.

We studied English.

You studied English.

They studied English.

 

Negative form (did not / didn’t)

I  did not studied English.

You  did not studied English.

He, She, It did not studied English.

We did not studied English.

You did not studied English.

They did not studied English.

 

Questions and Short answers

Did I studied English ? Yes, I did./ No, I did not.

Did you studied English ?Yes, I did./ No, I did not.

Did he, she, it studied English ?Yes, he,she,it did./ No, he,she,it did not.

Did we studied English ?Yes, we did./ No, we did not.

Did you studied English ?Yes, I did./ No, I did not.

Did they studied English ?Yes, they did./ No, they did not.

 

 

The Past Perfect tense

The past perfect refers to a time earlier than before now. It is used to make it clear that one event happened before another in the past. It does not matter which event is mentioned first – the tense makes it clear which one happened first.

Example:

He was just cutting and fixing the last edge on a huge red carpet which had fitted in the living room of Mrs. Pace’s house.

Forming the past perfect

The Past Perfect tense in English is composed of two parts: the past tense of the verb to have (had)+ the past participle of the main verb.

Positive form (had+V-ed)

I had worked.

You had worked

He, She, It had worked.

We had worked.

You had worked.

They had worked.

 

Negative form (had not/haven’t + V-ed)

I had not worked

You had not worked

He, She, It had not worked.

We had not worked.

You had not worked.

They had not worked.

 

Questions and short answers

Had I worked? Yes, I had./ No, I had not

Had you worked? Yes, I had./ No, I had not.

Had he, she, it worked ?Yes, he,she,it had ./No, he,she,it had not.

Had we worked ?Yes, we had ./No, we had not.

Had  you worked ?Yes, I had ./No, I had not.

Had they worked ?Yes, they had ./No, they had not.

 

 

Past perfect continuous

The past perfect continuous corresponds to the present perfect continuous, but with reference to a time earlier than ‘before now’. As with the present perfect continuous, we are more interested in the process.

Example:

James had been teaching at the university for more than a year before he left for Asia.

 

This form is also used in reported speech. It is the equivalent of the past continuous and the present perfect continuous in direct speech:

Example:

Jim said, “I have been working all morning.” = Jim said he had been working all morning.

 

Forming the past perfect continuous

The past perfect continuous is composed of two elements – the past perfect of the verb to be (had been) + the present participle (base+ing).

Positive form (had been + ing)

I had been listening.

You had been listening.

He, she, It had been listening.

We had been listening.

You had been listening.

They had been listening.

Negative form (had not/hadn’t been +ing)

I had  not been listening.

You had  not been listening.

He, She, It had  not been listening.

We had  not been listening.

You had  not been listening.

They had  not been listening.

 

Questions and Short answers

Had I been listening ? Yes, I had./ No, I had not.

Had you been listening ? Yes, I had./ No, I had not.

Had he, she, it been listening ? Yes, he, she, it had./ No, he, she, it had not.

Had we been listening ? Yes, we had./ No, we had not.

Had you been listening ? Yes, I had./ No, I had not.

 

 

The Past Continuous

 

The past continuous (also called past progressive) is used to show that an ongoing past action was happening at a specific moment of interruption, or that two ongoing actions were happening at the same time.

Example :

Jim was helping with the translation.

I was printing out the report while Jim was helping his father.

 

Forming the Past continuous

The past continuous of any verb is composed of two parts : the past tense of the verb“to be” (was/were), and the base of the main verb+ing.

Positive form (was/were + ing)

I was playing.

You were playing.

He, She, It was playing.

We were playing.

You were playing.

They were playing.

 

Negative form (was/were+ not/wasn’t/weren’t + ing)

I was not playing.

You were not playing.

He, She, It was not playing.

We were not playing.

You were not playing.

They were not playing.

 

Questions and Short answers

Was I playing ? Yes,I was. No, I was not .

Were you playing ?Yes,I were. No, I were not .

Was he,she,it playing ?Yes,he, she, it was. No, he,she,it was not .

Were we playing ?Yes,we were. No, we were not .

Were you playing ?Yes,I were. No, I were not .

Were they playing ?Yes,they were. No, they were not .

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