Grammar and Tenses
Direct and Indirect Questions
Prepositions and Adjectives
How to use Gerunds
Past tenses in English
We use this tense in English to talk about events or
situations that are finished. Normally we use a time reference.
"Last year I to Spain."
"In 1997, he his job."
"She an hour ago."
We also use the tense
in English to talk about long-lasting events or situations in the past.
"When I a child, I
in the countryside."
To talk about repeated activities in the past, we also use the
"I often to the beach as a
Tense ("I was doing")
There are three main uses of this tense:
1. To talk about
at a particular time in the past and to give descriptions and background
2. To talk about
in the past.
3. To make .
1. Talking about
at a particular time in the past.
"This time yesterday, I
We often use the
tense with the tense.
The Past Continuous gives the background to an event in the Past Simple:
"When he home, the children
in the garden." (The
children started playing in the garden before he got home.)
"I dinner when there
a knock on the door." (The
knock on the door came in the middle of my meal.)
We can use the to
"The girl a yellow
dress. She ice-cream
2. Talking about
in the past.
"When I in London, I
often went to the theatre." (Living in London was temporary - perhaps I
only lived there for a short while.)
Compare with: "When I was a child I in the countryside." Living in the countryside was a longer
event - I was a child for more than a couple of years. For more
permanent situations, we use the tense.
3. Making .
If we want to make polite requests, we can use the
tense. This is
because we put a distance between ourselves and the person we are
"I if you had time
to see me."
"I we could discuss a
How to use the present perfect tenses in English