Chapter 3 Past Tense

Primary tabs

Tense Keywords Condition Example
Simple Yesterday Completed Action We visited a school yesterday
  2 minutes ago Completed Condition Weather was rainy last Sunday
  Last friday Series of Completed Action I finished work, walked to the beach, and met Amit.
  If I joined.. Duration in Past

I lived in Brazil for five years.

    Habits in Past

I studied English when I was a child.

He visited his parents every weekend.

    Past facts or Generalization

He didn't like tomatoes before.

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

    When Clause

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

    If Clause If I had a lot of money, I would share it with you.
    Action in the past taking place in the middle of another action When I was having breakfast, the phone suddenly rang.
    After and Before clause

After Anil ate dinner, he went to school.

The students arrived in class before the teacher

    Used to I used to keep cat when I was a kid.
Progressive When Interrupted action in the past

I was watching TV when she called.

While I was writing the email, the computer suddenly went off.

  While Specific time as Interruption

Last night at 6 PM, I was reading book.

 

  As long as Parallel Actions

I was studying while he was making dinner.

    Atmosphere When I walked into the office, some employees were busily typing, some were talking on the phones and the boss was giving directions.
    Repetition and irritation with always

He was constantly talking. He annoyed everyone.

Past Perfect Already action taking place before a certain time in the past Before I came here, I had spoken to Jack.
  Just Completed action before something in past

I did not have any money because I had lost my wallet.

Kristine had never been to an opera before last night.

  Never Duration before something in past

They felt bad about selling the house because they had owned it for more than forty years.

  Not yet May use specific time words and phases

She had visited her in-laws once in 1993 before she moved in with them in 1996.

She had never seen a bear before she moved to Alaska.

  Once Type III conditional  If I had seen him, I would have talked to him.
  If I had talked..    
Past Perfect Continuous For

action taking place before a certain time in the past

They had been talking for over an hour before Tony arrived.

Mike wanted to sit down because he had been standing all day at work.

  Since    
  The whole day

puts emphasis on the course or duration of an action

When the teacher arrived, I had been waiting almost 10 minutes.
  All Day Cause of something in Past

Anil gained weight because he had been overeating.

Anil was tired, as he had been running for 10 minutes.