Adapted from Isabel Bastida’s, EOI CARTAGENA
• Past Simple
• Past Continuous
• Past Perfect
• Past Perfect Continuous
• Time conjunctions.
Actions which happened in a past time period which is
understood as a finished, complete period. When we talk
about two or more complete past events that followed
one another we use past simple in both actions:
“The children jumped out of bed on Christmas Day and
went down to open the presents”
“Mary stopped and started to cry”
Past simple is also used for repeated and habitual past
actions and states:
“Peter always had a glass of milk before going to bed
when he was a child”
actions, when we want
to emphasize that these
went on for a limited
and temporary period of
What were you doing at eight
o’clock yesterday evening?
We were getting ready to go out.
They were quarrelling the whole time
they were together
PAST SIMPLE AND CONTINUOUS
“Jason dropped his rucksack when he was getting into
“A friendly American couple started chatting to him as
he was checking in at the hotel”
In a narrative, the action in progress (expressed in past
continuous) is usually interrupted by a single action
(expressed in simple past).
To make it clear that
we are referring back to an
event completed earlier in
time (with time
expressions to express
which event happened
When I arrived at the party,
they had just set fire to the
After I told/
I wondered who had left the
door open with the keys in
At that time we had been living
in the caravan for about six
I had been reading science
fiction, and my mind was full
of strange images.
Vs. I had read all the magazines and was beginning to
As/ While/ When I was watching a horror movie, I heard a noise
outside (a longer activity happening “around” a short event)
As/ While/When I was slaving away, my brother was chilling out. (two
longer activities happening at the same time)
When Mary phoned me, I was having a shower. (a short event in the
middle of a longer activity)
When he crossed the finish line, everybody cheered. ( a short event
immediately before another short event)
Before we left, I (had) filled up with petrol.
I (had) filled up with petrol before we left.
“Before” always goes with the second action in a sequence
After I (had) filled up with petrol, we left.
We left after I (had) filled up with petrol.
“After” always goes with the first action in a sequence
AS SOON AS
BY THE TIME
As soon as he went/had gone outside, it started raining.
It started raining as soon as he went/had gone outside.
By the time the police arrived, the robbers had run away.
The robbers had run away by the time the police arrived.
Choose the correct option
1. … Joe arrived at the cinema, the film had finished
a) While b) as soon as c) by the time d) as
2. … we were sitting in a traffic jam, our plane was taking off.
a) as soon as b) while c) after d) by the time
3. … I phoned Sarah, she said she had been ill.
c) by the time d) when
4. She fell asleep … she was reading a book.
a) as soon as
b) before c) by the time d) while
5. … I turned on the TV, the programme ended.
b) as soon as
c) by the time d) before
6. Mechanics had checked the cars … the race started
7. The police searched us …. we arrived.
b) by the time c) before
8. I felt so relieved …… I found my missing purse.
c) by the time d) after
REWRITE THE SENTENCES USING THE WORD IN BRACKETS)
•I heard the news. Then I phoned my sister. (as soon as)
•I went to see a friend. Then I went home (after)
•I waited for around an hour. Then he eventually arrived. (by the time)
•The boss resigned. Then the business collapsed. (when)
•I was gardening for hours. Then she phoned me. (when)
•His owner was talking. At the same time the dog ran into the road. (while)
•The plane left. Then we go to the airport. (by the time)
•I never ate caviar. Then I went to Russia. (before)