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pasttenseenglish

By Ray Palmer,2014-05-21 13:31
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pasttenseenglish

USE 1 Completed Action in the Past

Use the Simple Past to express the idea that an action started and finished at a

    specific time in the past. Sometimes, the speaker may not actually mention the

    specific time, but they do have one specific time in mind. Examples:

    ; I saw a movie yesterday.

    ; I didn't see a play yesterday.

    ; Last year, I traveled to Japan.

    ; Last year, I didn't travel to Korea.

    ; Did you have dinner last night?

    ; She washed her car.

    ; He didn't wash his car.

    USE 2 A Series of Completed Actions

We use the Simple Past to list a series of completed actions in the past. These

    actions happen 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and so on.

    Examples:

    ; I finished work, walked to the beach, and found a nice place to swim.

    ; He arrived from the airport at 8:00, checked into the hotel at 9:00, and

    met the others at 10:00.

    ; Did you add flour, pour in the milk, and then add the eggs?

    USE 3 Duration in Past

    The Simple Past can be used with a duration which starts and stops in the past. A duration is a longer action often indicated by expressions such as: for two years, for five minutes, all day, all year, etc.

    Examples:

    ; I lived in Brazil for two years.

    ; Shauna studied Japanese for five years.

    ; They sat at the beach all day.

    ; They did not stay at the party the entire time.

    ; We talked on the phone for thirty minutes.

    ; A: How long did you wait for them?

    B: We waited for one hour.

    USE 4 Habits in the Past

    The Simple Past can also be used to describe a habit which stopped in the past. It can have the same meaning as "used to." To make it clear that we are talking

    about a habit, we often add expressions such as: always, often, usually, never, when I was a child, when I was younger, etc.

    Examples:

    ; I studied French when I was a child.

    ; He played the violin.

    ; He didn't play the piano.

    ; Did you play a musical instrument when you were a kid?

    ; She worked at the movie theater after school.

    ; They never went to school, they always skipped class.

    USE 5 Past Facts or Generalizations

    The Simple Past can also be used to describe past facts or generalizations which are no longer true. As in USE 4 above, this use of the Simple Past is quite similar to the expression "used to."

Examples:

    ; She was shy as a child, but now she is very outgoing.

    ; He didn't like tomatoes before.

    ; Did you live in Texas when you were a kid?

    ; People paid much more to make cell phone calls in the past.

    IMPORTANT When-Clauses Happen First

    Clauses are groups of words which have meaning but are often not complete sentences. Some clauses begin with the word "when" such as "when I dropped my pen..." or "when class began..." These clauses are called when-clauses, and they are very important. The examples below contain when-clauses. Examples:

    ; When I paid her one dollar, she answered my question.

    ; She answered my question when I paid her one dollar.

    When-clauses are important because they always happen first when both clauses are in the Simple Past. Both of the examples above mean the same thing: first, I paid her one dollar, and then, she answered my question. It is not important whether "when I paid her one dollar" is at the beginning of the sentence or at the end of the sentence. However, the example below has a different meaning. First, she answered my question, and then, I paid her one dollar.

    Example:

    ; I paid her one dollar when she answered my question.

    ADVERB PLACEMENT

    The examples below show the placement for grammar adverbs such as: always, only, never, ever, still, just, etc.

    Examples:

    ; You just called Debbie.

    ; Did you just call Debbie?

    ACTIVE / PASSIVE

    Examples:

; Tom repaired the car. ACTIVE

; The car was repaired by Tom. PASSIVE

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