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Using Past Tense Accurately in Sentences, etc. -

Using Past Tense Accurately in Sentences, etc.


Welcome to class! 

In today’s class, we will be talking about using past tense accurately in sentences. Enjoy the class!

Using past tense accurately in sentences

Past Tense

Past Tense


What is the past tense?

The past tense expressed action that happened in the past. It’s a grammatical function that indicates an event has already happened or display a state of being. It can be used for politeness, to talk about the past or talk about something we have imagined.

What are the types of past tense?

There are four kinds of past tense in the English language. They are the past simple, past perfect, past continuous and past perfect continuous. The following chart offers some basic examples in past tenses.

Past simple I walked
Past continuous I was walking
Past perfect I had walked
Past continuous perfect I had been walking
Examples of the past tense in a sentence

Here are some examples of how to use past tenses in a simple sentence.

  1. Past simple: “Yesterday, I walked all day.”
  2. Past continuous: “I was walking all day yesterday.”
  3. Past perfect: “I had walked all day, even though it rained.”
  4. Past continuous perfect: “I had been walking all day when it started raining.”
  • Simple Past Tense :


1.    The Simple Past tense of ‘be’ is ‘was’ and ‘were’
2.    Regular verbs: base + ed (worked; cleaned; listened etc.)
3.    Irregular verbs: (go—went; eat— ate; drink— drank)


  I/ You/ We/ They/ He/ She/ It  went  to school yesterday.

Sentences with ‘not’

  I/ You/ We/ They/ He/ She/ It  did not go  to school yesterday.


  Did   I/ You/ We/ They/ He/ She/ It   go to school yesterday?


  1. We use the Past Simple to talk about a completed event in the past. e.g. He finished his homework yesterday.
  2. It is always associated with certain past time expressions like: ‘yesterday’; ‘last week’; ‘when I was young’; ‘ago’; ‘this morning’; ‘once upon a time’e.g.
  • My father left Hong Kong last week.
  • Once there was a poor farmer called Ah Ming.
  • Did Peter play basketball this morning?


  • Past Continuous Tense:


  I/ He / She / It  was   waiting at 7 o’clock last night.
  You / We/ They   were

Sentences with ‘not’

  I/ He / She / It  was not   waiting at 7 o’clock last night.
  You / We/ They  were not


  Was   I/ he/ she/ it  waiting at 7 o’clock last night?
  Were  you/ we/ they


  1. We use the Past Continuous Tense for an action that was in progress at a particular time in the past.  e.g. I was watching TV at nine o’clock yesterday morning.
  • What were you doing at eight o’clock last night?
  • When I came in, she was watching TV.
  1. We can use ‘when/ while’ before the past continuous. e.g. I saw her while I was waiting at the bus stop.


Simple conversation using the appropriate words – simple conversation in excusing, obligations, and permission

Grammar explanation

We often use verbs with modal meanings to talk about permission and obligation.

  • can

We often use can to ask for and give permission.

  1. Can I sit here?
  2. You can use my car if you like.
  3. Can I make a suggestion?
  • could

We also use could to ask for permission (but not to give it). Could is more formal and polite than can.

  1. Could I ask you something?
  2. Could I interrupt?
  3. Could I borrow your pen for a moment, please?
  • may

May is the most formal way to ask for and give permission.

  1. May I see your passport, please?
  2. Customers may request a refund within a period of 30 days.
  3. These pages may be photocopied for classroom use.

We use can’t and mustn’t to show that something is prohibited – it is not allowed.

  • can’t

We use can’t to talk about something that is against the rules, particularly when we didn’t make the rules.

  1. What does this sign say? Oh, we can’t park here.
  2. You can’t take photos in the museum. They’re really strict about it.
  3. Sorry, we can’t sell knives to under-18s.
  • must not/mustn’t

We use must not talk about what is not permitted. It is common on public signs and notices informing people of rules and laws.

  1. Visitors must not park in the staff car park.
  2. Baggage must not be left unattended.
  3. Guests must not make noise after 10 p.m.

We use mustn’t particularly when the prohibition comes from the speaker.

  1. You mustn’t say things like that to your sister.
  2. You mustn’t be late to class.
  3. I mustn’t let that happen again.


In our next class, we will be talking about Using Present Tense Accurately in Sentences, etc.  We hope you enjoyed the class.

Should you have any further question, feel free to ask in the comment section below and trust us to respond as soon as possible.

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1 thought on “Using Past Tense Accurately in Sentences, etc.”

  1. Morlai Mohamed Kamara

    Good job, congratulations!
    But you only two kinds of past tense (simple past tense and past continuous tense). The past perfect and the past perfect continuous are not explained.

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