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This unit explains the different forms of the past tense. Like the present tense, there are 4 different forms:
Past Simple which is adding -d or -ed to the base form. It can be used when talking about a past action when the time is given, when time is asked about, when an action clearly took place at a definite time, or sometimes occurs as a result of a question and answer in present perfect tense.
Past continuous, like present continuous, adds -ing to the base form of the verb. It can be used for interrupted past actions, to indicate gradual development that took place in the past, and to express action which began before that time and may continue.
Past perfect, which is the past equivalent of present perfect, adds had before the past participle to talk about actions that occurred before other actions. For example, he was tired because he had worked all day. Students may use “after” or “when” when forming a sentence in this tense.
Finally, past perfect continuous, which isn’t as commonly used as the other forms, uses “had been” plus the past participle, and us typically used to talk about longer happenings in the past that had been going on continuously up to the past moment we are thinking about.
Students may get confused by the difference between some of the forms, and with some forms of present tense verbs. Demonstrations and examples of the differences will be important for helping the students understand. Writing them all down on the board and going over the structure of each form and using them in everyday situations will also be helpful.