PAST TENSES

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Past tenses

 

The past tense in English is used:

  • to talk about the past
  • to talk about hypotheses (when we imagine something)
  • for politeness.

 

Past Simple

An action in the past

Subject + verb – ed / III form + The rest

I bought a professional painting course yesterday.

I did not buy a professional painting course yesterday.

Did you buy a professional painting course yesterday? 

 

Past Continuous

An on-going past action

Subject + was / were + verb – ing + The rest

They were cycling last night.

They were not cycling last night.

Were they cycling last night?

 

Past Perfect

A completed action before another action

Subject + had + verb – ed / III form + The rest

I had read this book before your recommendation.

I had not read this book before your recommendation.

Had you read this book before my recommendation?

 

Past Perfect Continuous

An on-going past action interrupted by another action

Subject + had + been + verb – ing + The rest

He had been playing the trumpet before she entered the room.

He had not been playing the trumpet before she entered the room.

Had he been playing the trumpet before she entered the room?

 

Four past tense forms in English:

Past simple:I worked
Past continuous:I was working
Past perfect:I had worked
Past perfect continuous:I had been working

 

 

 

 

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