Present perfect and simple past: differences

We do not use the present perfect with expressions that refer to a completely finished period of time, like yesterday, last week, when, then, five years ago, in 1995. The simple past is used with this meaning. Continue reading „Present perfect and simple past: differences“

Past verb forms with present or future meaning

A past verb form does not always have a past meaning. Verbs like I had, you went and I was wondering are often used to talk about the present or the future.

after if, unless, supposing etc.

After if, unless and words with similar meanings, we often use past verb forms to refer to the present or the future. Continue reading „Past verb forms with present or future meaning“

The past perfect progressive tense

Affirmative Negative Question
I had been writing.
She had been writing.
You had been writing.
I had not been writing.
She had not been writing.
You had not been writing.
Had I been writing?
Had she been writing?
Had you been writing?


We use the past perfect progressive to talk about longer actions or situations which had continued up to the past moment that we are thinking about, or shortly before it. Continue reading „The past perfect progressive tense“

The past perfect tense

Affirmative Negative Question
I had written.
She had written.
You had written.
I had not written.
She had not written.
You had not written.
Had I written?
Had she written?
Had you written?

Uses of the past perfect tense

to refer to the ‘earlier past’

The past perfect tense denotes an action completed at some point in the past before some other past action commenced. When two actions in the past have to be referred to, the past perfect is used for the earlier action and the simple past for the later one. Continue reading „The past perfect tense“

The past progressive tense

Affirmative Negative Question
I was writing.
She was writing.
You were writing.
I was not writing.
She was not writing.
You were not writing.
Was I writing?
Was she writing?
Were you writing


to talk about past events in progress

The past progressive is used to talk about events that were in progress around a particular past time. Continue reading „The past progressive tense“

The past simple tense

Affirmative Negative Question
I wrote.
She wrote.
You wrote.
I did not write.
She did not write.
You did not write.
Did I write?
Did she write?
Did you write?

Uses of the simple past tense

We use the simple past tense to talk about many kinds of past events: short, quickly finished actions, longer situations, and repeated events. Continue reading „The past simple tense“