What is past tense?
The past tense is the basic form of past tense in English. The past tense is used to talk about a completed action in a time before now and to talk about the past.
English uses three principal forms of the past, the Simple Past tense, the Present Perfect tense, and the Past perfect tense. There is also a special tense called the future perfect tense.
They are four main past tenses in English.
- Past simple E.g. I played
- Past continuous E.g. I was playing
- Past perfect E.g. I had played Past
- perfect continuous E.g. I had been playing
Forming the Simple Past Tense
If it’s a regular verb, the basic form of verb + “ed”. If it’s an irregular verb, the simple past tense is formed in all sorts of different ways.
Forming the Past Continuous Tense
We form it using was/were + verb + ing.
Forming the Past Perfect Tense
We make the past perfect by using had + past participle.
Forming the Past Perfect Continuous Tense
We form the past perfect continuous with had + been + verb + ing
Using the past tenses in English
- actions finished in the past
- series of completed actions in the past
- together with the Past Progressive/Continuous tenses