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Wednesday, 24 August 2011


Past indefinite/simple:

We use the past indefinite for an action or situation in the past.


Single or repeated Actions:
We went to London thrice last year.
The children always played in the garden
I visited America last week.
Ana watched TV yesterday.

·        Series of actions completed in the past:

First I got up, and then I had breakfast.

·        Habit or State:

1.   People used to come here in the evening for a walk.
2.   I used to have a bicycle but I sold it.
3.   They were playing in the garden when the telephone rang.
4.   They were determined to work hard.
5.   Why were you absent from the class?

·        Story telling:

Once upon a time a Princess went into a wood and sat down by a stream.

·        Time expressions:

Time expressions with the past indefinite are: yesterday, this morning/evening, last week/year, a week/month ago, that day/afternoon, the other day/week, at eleven o’clock, on Tuesday, in 1950, just, recently, once, earlier, then, next, after that.


Subject +Verb 2nd form +Object.


Subject +DID NOT +Verb 1st form +Object.


DID +Subject+ Verb 1st form+ Object.

A: She saw your brother.
N: She did not see your brother.
I: Did she see your brother?

A: I borrowed money from my friend.
N: I did not borrow money from my friend.
I: Did I borrow money from my friend?

Past Continuous/ Progressive

We use past progressive tense to say that something was happening or going on.


·        Action was in progress at special time in the past:

1.   Monty was reading a book yesterday evening.
2.   She was listening to the music.

We use this tense when two actions were happening at the same time:

John was writing a letter while Anne was reading the London Daily News.

We use past continuous tense for Repeated actions that irritate the speaker (e.g. with constantly, always, forever)

Andy was always coming in late. (I don't like it.)


Subject + was/were + verb1st form + ing +object.


I/he/she/it/Ali +was + verb1st form + ing +object.
You/we/they +were + verb1st form + ing +object.


I/he/she/it/Ali was not+ verb1st form + ing +object.
You/we/they were not+ verb1st form + ing +object.


Was +I/he/she/it/Ali+ verb1st form + ing +object.
Were +you/we/they+ verb1st form + ing +object.

Negative questions:

Wasn’t +I/he/she/it/Ali+ verb1st form + ing +object.
Weren’t +you/we/they+ verb1st form + ing +object.

A: He was working.
N: He was not working.
I: Was he working?
A: You were working.
N: You were not working.
I: Were you working?

Past Perfect Tense:

We use past perfect tense to talk about finished actions before past simple.

·        To say that someone finished one action and then did something else, we use either when…had done or after …did/had done:

1.   When she had written the letter, she went out to post it.
2.   After she wrote/written the letter, she went out to post it.
NOT: When she wrote the letter, she went out to post it.

·        These three expressions given below can be used (often with a past perfect tense) to suggest that one thing happened very soon after another:

…no sooner---than…

1.   I had hardly/scarcely closed my eyes when the doorbell rang.
2.   She was hardly/scarcely inside the house before the kids started screaming.
3.   I had no sooner closed the door than somebody knocked.


1.   We can also use past perfect for a state:
2.   Everything seemed fine up to then.      
3.   They had been friends for six months.


 Subject + had + verb3rd form + object.


I/he/she/it/Ali + had + verb3rd form + object.
You/we/they +had + verb3rd form + object.


I/he/she/it/Ali +had not + verb3rd form + object.
You/we/they +had not + verb3rd form + object.


Had +I/he/she/it/Ali + verb3rd form + object.
Had +you/we/they +verb3rd form + object.

Negative questions:

Hadn’t +I/he/she/it/Ali + verb3rd form + object.
Hadn’t +you/we/they + verb3rd form + object.

A: He had worked.
N: He had not worked.
I: Had he worked?

Past Perfect Progressive/Continuous:

We use past perfect progressive tense to talk about a continued action before past simple or to talk about longer actions or situations which had continued up to the past moment that we are thinking about, or shortly before it.


·        How long something had been happening before something else happened:

1.   We had been watching cricket before manager came.
2.   Muslims had been facing problems before Pakistan came into being.
3.   I had been reading this novel for about a month.


 Subject + had been + verb1st form + ing + object


I/he/she/it/Ali + had been + verb3rd form +ing + object.
You/we/they +had been + verb3rd form +ing + object.


I/he/she/it/Ali + had not been + verb3rd form +ing + object.
You/we/they +had not been + verb3rd form + ing +object.


Had +I/he/she/it/Ali + been + verb3rd form +ing + object.
Had +You/we/they +been + verb3rd form +ing + object.

A: I had been waiting for Susan for 2 hours when she arrived.
N: I had not been waiting for Susan for 2 hours when she arrived.
I: Had I been waiting for Susan for 2 hours when she arrived.


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