Unit 12 Past tenses + PresentPerfect
PAST SIMPLE • Used to talk about a complete action, event or situation at a particular time in the past. The train left at 8:30 am. We lived in London until I got a job in Oxford. • Used to talk about repeated actions in the past. He read a chapter of the book every night. We went to the beach at weekends in the summer.
PAST CONTINUOUS • Cannot be used with stative verbs. • Used to talk about a situation or action in progress around a point time in the past. I was living in London when Kennedy was assassinated. What were you doing at 9 on Tuesday evening? • Used to talk about a situation or action in progress that is interrupted by another event. When I was thinking about the problem I suddenly had the most amazing idea. The plane was coming into land when it was struck by lightning.
PAST CONTINUOUS • Used to emphasise that two situations or events were happening simultaneously. While I was trying to phone her, she was trying to phone me! I was putting the toys away and the children were getting them back out again. • Used with always and forever to talk about repeated actions or behaviours. They were forever asking for favours, but they never did anything for anyone else. She was always offering to babysit so that my husband and I could go out.
PRESENT PERFECT SIMPLE • Used to talk about past events or situations in a time period that extends from the past up to the present. That shop has had three new managers and it’s still losing money. I’ve been to Russia. -When did you go? -I went last June. • Used to say how many times something has happened in that period. They’ve lived at three different addresses since June.
PRESENT PERFECT SIMPLE • Used to talk about an event in the past that has a result in the present. Cancel the skiing trip - I’ve broken my leg. Has he finished that report yet? • Used to talk about the duration of an event or situation which started in the past and extends up to the present. How long have you worked here? - I’ve been here for two months. I’ve played the piano since I was four.
I read many other stories by his author before I had read The Dream. I had read many other stories by this author before I read The Dream.
Kate bought a new computer because she had been accepted on a Creative Writing course.
The short story had been made into a TV drama last year. The short story was made into a TV drama last year.
The author was owning an interesting collection of antiquarian books. The author owned an interesting collection of antiquarian boooks.
We were still trying to decide on a title for our short story while the other group was finishing their plot.
In the story the villain was almost getting away with it but the body was being discovered. • In thestorythevillainalmostgotawaywithitbutthe body wasdiscovered.
The first page of the book was seeming very boring, that’s why I didn’t read it. • Thefirstpageofthebookseemedveryboring, that’swhy I didn’treadit.
He had been writing for magazines for years before he was being discovered by Hollywood. • He hadbeenwritingfor magazines foryearsbefore he wasdiscovered by Hollywood.
It’s the first time I write a short story. • It’sthefirst time I’vewritten a short story.
Are you sure the Russian committed the murder? I thought it had been the lodger. • Are yousuretheRussiancommittedthemurder? I thoughtitwasthelodger.
PAST PERFECT SIMPLE • Used in similar waystothepresentperfect simple, butitreferstoactions and eventsbefore a particular time in thepast. I’donlyjustsatdown at my desk and my bosswasasking me wheretheletterswere. Before I was 18, Ihadn’tbeenoutside my home town. • Unlikethepresentperfect, thepastperfect can refertospecific times in thepast. Wealreadyfeltlikeoldfriendseventhoughwehadonlymetthatmorning He asked me whenexactly I hadfirstheardabouttheproblem.
PRESENT PERFECT CONTINUOUS • Cannotbeusedwithstativeverbs. • Isusedtotalkaboutpasteventswhichcontinue up tothepresentor up to a time in therecentpast. She’sbeenhelping me withthehouseworkbutnowshe’sgotboredwithit. • Isusedtotalkaboutrepeatedpastevents in a time periodthatextends up tothepresent. The car has beenbreakingdown a lotrecently He’sbeenseeing a new girlfriendmostevenings.
PRESENT PERFECT CONTINUOUS • Isusedtotalkabout and event, actionorbehaviour in therecentpastthat has a result in thepresent. Theactionmaybefinishedornot. In this use, thefocusisonthepresentevidenceforthepastevent. I’vebeenrainning (the rain has stoppedbutthestreets are wet) . • Isusedtotalkaboutaneventwhichstarted in thepast and continuous in thepresent. She’sbeenworkingonitforaboutsixyears Has he beenwritingher novel for a long time?
PAST PERFECT CONTINUOUS • Cannotbeusedwithstativeverbs. • Can beused in similar waystothepresentperfectcontinuous, butitreferstoactionsoreventsto a particular time in thepast. Theyhadbeenplanningtheirespeditionformonthsbefore I joinedtheteam. She’dbeenhelping at a charitysoupkitchenon and off for a fewmonths.
PAST PERFECT CONTINUOS • Alsoitreferstoactionsorevents up tojustbefore a particular time in thepast. He’dbeendrinking. I couldsmellitonhisbreath. • Unlikethepresentperfectcontinuous, thepastperfectcontinuous can refertospecific times in thepast. At breakfast I wonderedwhy I felt so tired, then I rememberedthat at 2am I’dbeenlisteningto my neighboursarguingagain.