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The past tenses

The past tenses

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  • 1. T he P ast T enses
  • 2. T he P ast T enses
    • T here are four tenses that begin with a verb in the past tense.
      • T he past simple
      • T he past continuous
      • T he pastperfect
      • T he past perfect continuous
  • 3. T he P ast T enses
    • T he past simple and the past continuous are used with reference to past time. You use the past simple for events that happened in the past.
    • I woke up early and got out of bed.
  • 4. T he P ast T enses
    • I f you are talking about the general past, or about regular or habitual actions in the past, you also use the past simple.
    • She lived just outside London.
    • We often saw his dog sitting outside his house.
  • 5. T he P ast T enses
    • I f you are talking about something which continued to happened before and after a particular time in the past, you use the past continuous.
    • They were sitting in the kitchen, when they heard the explosion.
    • Jack arrived while the children were having their bath.
  • 6. T he P ast T enses
    • T he past continuous is often used to refer to a temporary situation.
    • He was working at home at the time.
    • Bill was using my office until I came back from America.
  • 7. T he P ast T enses
    • Y ou often use the past perfect and past perfect continuous tenses when you are talking about the past and you are concerned with something which happened at an earlier time, or which had started at an earlier time but was still continuing.
    • I had heard it was a good film so we decided to go and see it.
  • 8. T he P ast T enses
    • It was getting late. I had been waiting there since two o’ clock.
  • 9. T he P ast T enses
    • Y ou sometime use a past tense rather than a present tense when you want to be more polite. In the following pair of sentences the second sentence is more polite.
    • Do you want to see me now?
    • Did you want to see me now?
  • 10. T he P ast T enses
    • T he past tenses have special meanings in conditional clauses and when referring to hypothetical and imaginary situations, for example after ‘I wish’ or ‘What if …?’. You use the past simple and the past continuous for something you think is unlikely to happen.
    • If they saw the mess, they would be very angry.
  • 11. T he P ast T enses
    • We would tell you if we were selling the house.
  • 12. T he P ast T enses
    • Y ou use the past perfect and the past perfect continuous when you are talking about something which could have happened in the past, but which didn’t actually happen.
    • If I had known that you were coming, I would have told Jim.
    • They wouldn’t have gone to bed if they had been expecting you to arrive.
  • 13. Q uestions? For more slide presentations visit: