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This unit recaps the rules of the four past tenses and give examples for the activate stage of a lesson.
1. Past Simple: it's used, for example, when telling stories with past actions in a definite past time period (it rained yesterday) and even when the time isn't specifically said to be in the past (he passed his exams), or when asking about time (when did you start working here?). The structure for an affirmative form is: subject + verb in past tense (most often adding -ed, but there are many exceptions) (she worked hard / they took her advice), the question form: auxilliary verb 'to do' in the past tense + subject + verb in its base form (did you go to the theater?), and the negative form: subject + did + not + base form (it didn't break). Some activities that could be done include: having discussions (on past holidays...), a card game where students match past and present forms of irregular verbs or making a CV (for more advanced students).
2. Past Continuous: it's used in stories for the description (birds were singing and the sun was rising, when he woke up), for interrupted past actions (she was sleeping when a boock fell of the shelf) or for past actions that continued for awhile (at 7 pm, I was working on my painting). The structure for the affirmative form is: subject + auxilliary verb 'to be' in past tense + verb in -ing form (you were dancing in the rain), for the question form: was/were + subject + verb in -ing (was he writing it down?), and the negative form: subject + was/were + not + verb in -ing (we weren't eating). Examples for the activate phase are: a detective or diary exercice (what where students doing at what time yesterday?) or telling stories (mixing both the past simple for narratives and the past continuous for descriptions).
3. Past Perfect: it's used for past actions viewed from an already in the past view-point (he taught he hadn't forgotten his keys) or for actions that are finished before moving on to another (he had finished his homework before he coocked diner). Its structure is for the affirmative form: subject + auxilliary verb 'to have' in past tense + past participle (I had lived there for quite awhile, before moving to France), the question form: had + subject + past participle (had she eaten by that time yet?), and the negative form: subject + had + not + past participle (they hadn't brought it back on time). Some activities that could be done are: a student tells a final situation and the others try to find how it happened or students tell stories backwards.
4. Past Perfect Continuous: the past perfect continuous is almost never used, but it can be when talcking about actions that had been going on until a specific point in time (he had been viewing TV since the beginning of the day, until his parents came into his room). The structure for the affirmative form is: subject + 'to have ' in past tense + been + verb in -ing (she had been going there for quite some time now), the question form: had + subject + been + verb in -ing (had you been seeing her?), and the negative form: subject + had + not + been + verb in -ing (they hadn't been working on it). An activity could be guessing what happened before a given stituation and adding prompts for the students.