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