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Past Tense and Its Types

Grammar Worksheets | 7-14 yrs | Reading Pod, Interactive, Learning Pod

What is Tense?

The term tense is derived from Latin word ‘Tempus” meaning time. Tense is used to indicate time in English language. It has been broadly classified into three groups – Present Tense, Past Tense and Future Tense.

Let’s learn more about Past Tense and Its Types:

Past Simple Tense

It is used to express an action which has taken place a little time before speaking or action which is just completed. Example: I watched a movie.

Sentence Formation:
Here verb forms have changed.

Positive: I killed a snake
Here ‘killed’ is used as main verb. It is the second form of verb (Past Simple)
Negative: I did not kill a snake
In this sentence ‘did’ is the auxiliary verb and ‘kill’ is the main verb.
Interrogative: Did I kill a snake?
Here, the sentence starts with ‘did’ and first form of verb ‘Kill’ is used instead of second form of verb (past simple verb)

Past Continuous Tense

It is used to indicate an ongoing nature of an action in past. Example: He was laughing.

Sentence Formation:
In this case, auxiliary verb ‘was’ or ‘were’ and first form of verb along with ‘ing’ (present participle) have been used as main verb.

Positive: She was smiling yesterday.
Negative: She was not crying yesterday.
Interrogative: Was she crying yesterday?

Past Perfect Tense

It indicates an action which took place long back and before occurrence of another action. Example: I had lived in America.

Sentence Formation:

In case of past perfect tense auxiliary verb ‘had’ and third form of verb or past participle is used as main verb.
Positive: He had taken the exam last year
Negative: He had not taken the exam last year
Interrogative: Had he taken the exam last year

Past Perfect Continuous

It is used to denote an ongoing action which continued for sometime in past.
Sentence Formation:
Here, auxiliary verb ‘had been’ and present participle ‘ing’ have been used.

Positive: I had been waiting for him for two hours
Negative: I had not been waiting for him for two hours
Interrogative: Had I been waiting for him for two hours?

Read here related articles Types of Present Tense and Future Tense.

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