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Here Below you can check out the feedback (for one of our units) of one of the 16.000 students that last year took an online course with ITTT!
In this unit the focus is on the 4 forms of the past tense: the past simple, past continuous, past perfect and past perfect continuous.
1. The past simple
Affirmative: subject + base form of verb + -ed or -d
Negative: subject + did + not + base form of verb
Question: did + subject + base form of verb
Irregular verbs: only one simple past verb has 2 forms according to person: to be.
I / he / she / it was
You / we / they were
For all other verbs the form stays the same no matter the person.
B. Usages: it is used for actions completed at a specific time in the past.
- A past action when the time is given.
- When the time is asked about.
- When the action already took place at a definite time even though this time is not mentioned.
- Sometimes the time becomes definite because of a question and answer in the present perfect.
Note: when students see the word ‘ago’ then the tense associated with it is most likely the past simple.
2. The past continuous
Affirmative: subject + was / were + verb+ing
Negative: subject + was / were + not + verb+ing
Question: was / were + subject + verb+ing
B. Usage: for actions in progress at a past time.
- For interrupted past actions.
- Used without a time expression to indicate a gradual development that took place in the past.
- To express and action which began before that time and probably continued after it.
- The continues tense in descriptions.
3. The past perfect
Affirmative: subject + had + past particle
Negative: subject + had + not + past particle
Question: had + subject + past particle
- The past equivalent of the present perfect. The past viewed from another past viewpoint.
Note: After and when are often used to show a past action has completely finished before another action in the past started.
4. The past perfect continuous
Affirmative: subject + had + been + verb+ing
Negative: subject + had + not + been + verb+ing
Question: had + subject + been + verb+ing
B. Usage: not that frequently used.
- To talk about longer actions or situations in the past that had been going on continuously up to the past moment that we are thinking about. We don’t know or are not concerned with whether or not it continued after.
A good unit to help me explain to students in simple terms when the use which past tense and why. I have made several of my students make some of the common mistakes mentioned. I will definitely use some of the activities for the activate stage next time I need to teach the past tenses to students.