Level: intermediate

Past tense

There are two tenses in English – past and present.

The past tense in English is used:

  • to talk about the past
  • to talk about hypotheses (when we imagine something)
  • for politeness.

There are four past tense forms in English:

Past simple: I worked
Past continuous: I was working
Past perfect: I had worked
Past perfect continuous: I had been working

We use these forms:

  • to talk about the past:

He worked at McDonald's. He had worked there since July.
He was working at McDonald's. He had been working there since July.

  • to refer to the present or future in hypotheses:

It might be dangerous. Suppose they got lost.

This use is very common in wishes:

I wish it wasn't so cold.

and in conditions with if:

He could get a new job if he really tried.
If Jack was playing, they would probably win.

For hypotheses, wishes and conditions in the past, we use the past perfect:

It was very dangerous. What if you had got lost?
I wish I hadn't spent so much money last month.
I would have helped him if he had asked.

and also to talk about the present in a few polite expressions:

Excuse me, I was wondering if this was the train for York.
I just hoped you would be able to help me.

Past tense 1

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Past tense 2

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Comments

 i would like to have more exercises to test understanding of the language.

The exercises are coming soon - They have all been written, I just need to edit them and publish them - watch this space!

The british council is the best in lebanon so....
 i would like to have more exercises to test understanding of the language

It is interesting game by which English learning may improve very soon.

Hi,
Thank you for this website. It is helping me a lot. Because I was forgetting English because I talk Dutch.
A lot of greetings from Belgium,
 Zoila

This space is so cool. This website is the only place where I can learn so fastly. TY!!!

I were failed the questions past  tense,they are harder than present tense!!How can I make improves ?

Hello,

There is another exercise on the past on the site which you might find useful.

Best wishes,

Adam

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you ,I will try again till understand .

Hi Adam
I would be grateful if you explain this:
"You are studying at an International College for a few months"
and
"You have been studying at an International College for a few months"
Which of the above statements are correct?I read the first statement in a few books.Is it grammatically correct?Kindly explain.
Thanks

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