Past Tenses

Theory Summary

Definition

Past Tenses is the verb used to indicate an action, event or condition that started in the past but ended either in the past or continue to the present.

Types

Based on completion of the action, event, or condition, there are 4 types of Past Tenses commonly used in English Grammar:

1. Simple Past

Usage: actions starting and ending in the past.
Form: infinitive + ed or simple past form of irregular verb

2. Past Continuous (Past Progressive)

Usage: actions starting in the past and continuing to the present.
Form: was/were + infinitive + ing

3. Past Perfect

Usage: actions that started and ended in the past before another action that is also in the past.
Form: had + past participle

4. Past Perfect Continuous (Past Perfect Progressive)

Usage: actions that were going on in the past up until another action in the past happened.
Form: had + been + infinitive + ing

Examples

Simple Past

+ Affirmative: They visited Oklahoma last month.
- Negative: They did not visit Oklahoma last month.
? Interrogative: Did they visit Oklahoma last month?

Past Continuous (Past Progressive)

+ Affirmative: David was writing a letter this morning.
- Negative: David was not writing a letter this morning.
? Interrogative: Was David writing a letter this morning?

Past Perfect

+ Affirmative: Samantha had written tomorrow tasks before she went to bed.
- Negative: Samantha had not written tomorrow tasks before she went to bed.
? Interrogative: Had Samantha written tomorrow tasks before she went to bed?

Past Perfect Continuous (Past Perfect Progressive)

+ Affirmative: Rose had been waiting for Jack for an hour when he arrived.
- Negative: Rose had not been waiting for Jack for an hour when he arrived.
? Interrogative: Had Rose been waiting for Jack for an hour when he arrived?

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