Past Tense

Past Tense

This tense expresses an action that has happened or a state that previously existed like present tense, past tense can also be classified into following four parts:

(i) Past Indefinite 

This tense is used to express an action that happened or finished in the past.

Structure

The structure of sentence with singular / plural subject remains same in past indefinite tense.
Affirmative = Sub + V2 + Obj.
Negative = Sub + did not + V1 + Obj.
Interrogative = Did + sub + V1 + Obj + ? 
Negative Interrogative = Did + Sub + not + V1 + Obj + ?
Example
She wrote a book.
She did not write a book.
Did she write a book ? 
Did she not write a book ? 

Use 

1. To show a past action.
2. To show a past habit. 
3. This tense is used in conditional sentences to indicate a condition which is unlikely to occur.
4. With the phrase
” It is time, it is high time, it is about time.”

(ii) Past Continuous Tense

This tense is used to express an action which was in progress for some time in the past.

Structure

For Singular 

Affirmative = Sub + was + V1 ing + Obj.
Negative = Sub + was not + V1 ing+ Obj.
Interrogative = Was + sub + V1 ing + Obj + ? 
Negative Interrogative = Was + Sub + not + V1 ing+ Obj + ? 
Example
She was calling me.
She was not calling me.
Was she calling me ? 
Was she not calling me ? 
For Plural 

Affirmative = Sub + were + V1 ing + Obj.
Negative = Sub + were not + V1 ing+ Obj.
Interrogative = Were + sub + V1 ing + Obj + ? 
Negative Interrogative = Were + Sub + not + V1 ing+ Obj + ? 
I is used as singular subject in this tense.

Example
They were watching a movie.
They were not watching a movie.
Were they watching a movie ? 
Were they not watching a movie ? 

Uses


1. This tense is used when two actions were simultaneously in progress in the past.
2. This tense is also used combination with simple past.

(iii) Past Perfect Tense

This tense expresses an action which has been completed in the past.

Structure

The structure of sentence with singular/plural subject remains same in Past Perfect Tense.

Affirmative = Sub + had + V3 + Obj.
Negative = Sub + had not + V3 + Obj.
Interrogative = Had + sub + V3 + Obj + ? 
Negative Interrogative = Had + Sub + not + V3 + Obj + ? 
Example
He had left for USA.
He had not left for USA.
Had he left for USA ? 
Had he not left for USA ?

Uses

1. When two actions occur in the past, one after the other, then, the first action is expressed in Past Perfect Tense and the second action is expressed in Simple Past Tense.
2. To express some unfulfilled wish in the past.

(iv) Past Perfect Continuous Tense

This tense is used to express an action that started in the past, continued for a period of time and then finished in past.

Structure

The structure of sentences with singular/plural subject remains same in Past Perfect Continuous Tense.

Affirmative = Sub + had been + V1 ing + Obj + since/ for + time being.
Negative = Sub + had not been + V1 ing+ Obj + since/ for + time being.
Interrogative = Had + sub + been + V1 ing + Obj + since/ for + time being + ? 
Negative Interrogative = Had + Sub + not + been + V1 ing+ Obj  + since/ for + time being + ?
Example 

She had been watching TV for two hours.
She had not been watching TV for two hours.
Had she been watching TV for two hours ?
Had she not been watching TV for two hours ? 

Uses 

1. It is used to express a repeated action in the past.
2. It is used to express an action that had happened in the past and its effects were still visible in the past.

Leave a Comment