I am presenting you with a quick recap of the primary uses of Past Tenses. Instead of memorising the rules, try to remember a sentence with the tense used.
- Used when talking about a completed event at a particular time or over a specific time in the past
Example: He ate dinner at 6 pm
- Use when talking about repeated actions in the past (for example habits)
Example: They went for a run every evening
- Used to talk about an action in progress around some point in the past
- Used when talking about an event that was interrupted by another event
Example: She was taking a shower when the doorbell rang.
- Used when talking about two events that were happening simultaneously
Example: When I was cooking, she was cleaning the kitchen.
- Used with always and forever when talking about repeated actions or behavior
Example: He was always first to help his grandma.
PAST PERFECT SIMPLE
- Used when talking about events/actions before another action in the past.
Example: Ann had left before the family arrived.
PAST PERFECT CONTINUOUS
- Cannot be used with stative verbs (be, know, hate, etc.)
- Something that started, continued and finished in the past
Example: Tim had been studying Spanish when his friend called him.