Past tenses - form & function

PAST SIMPLE TENSES
Past Simple
Form:
• I, you he,she, we, they saw / didn’t see....
• He, she it didn't see
• Did you see...? "Yes I did/ no I didn’t"
» ...ed past endings

Past Simple Passive
Form:
(subject + have/has + been + past participle)
• I , you, we, they were seen
• He/she, it was seen
• Was he seen?
•Were you/they seen .......? "Yes he was / No you/they weren’t"

 

1) ACTIONS COMPLETED IN FINISHED PAST TIME

“I saw the film last Thursday”
"I went to Greece in 2003"

2) PAST HABITS / STATES

"I played tennis twice a week when I was at college.

3) PASSIVE FUNCTION - the same as the active but with focus on the passive subject

“This jacket was made in India"

PAST CONTINUOUS TENSES
Past Continuous
Form:
• I, you we, they were seeing / weren't seeing.
• He, she it was seeing / wasn’t seeing
• Were you seeing/ was he seeing? "Yes I was /no I wasn’t"
Past Continuous Passive
Form:
(subject + was/were + being + past participle)
• I , you, we, they were being seen
• He/she, it was being seen
• Was he being seen?
• Were they being seen .......? "Yes he was / No they weren’t"

 

1) INTERRUPTED PAST ACTIONS

"I was playing tennis when he called."

2) BACKGROUND ACTIONS IN A STORY

"Everyone was talking and having a good time. The sun was shining and people were sitting outside the cafes by the river."

3) SIMULTANEOUS LONG ACTIONS IN FINISHED PAST TIME

"I was waiting for him in the wrong place. He was waiting outside the cinema but I was waiting outside the theatre"

PASSIVE FUNCTION - same as active but focus is on the passive subject

“He was being met from the airport by his brother."

PAST PERFECT TENSES
Past Perfect Simple
Form:
• I, you, he, she, it, we, they had seen / hadn’t seen...
• Had you seen? "Yes I had /no I hadn’t"

Past Perfect Simple Passive
Form:
(subject + had + been + past participle)

• I, you, he, she, we, they had been seen...
• Had he been seen? "Yes he had / No he hadn't."

 

 

1) AN ACTION WHICH HAPPENED BEFORE ANOTHER IN THE PAST

"I arrived at work but realised that I'd forgotten my keys?"

PASSIVE FUNCTION

"My house keys had been dropped when I got out of the car."

PAST PERFECT CONTINUOUS TENSES
Past Perfect Continuous
Form:
• He, she it has been seeing / hasn’t been seeing...
• Has he been seeing/ have they been seeing? "Yes he has /no he hasn’t"

Past Perfect Continuous Passive
Form:
NOT NORMALLY USED IN PASSIVE

 

 

1) CONTINUOUS PAST ACTIONS PUNCTUATED BY SHORTER PAST ACTIONS

"I'd been looking for my keys in the office then a friend called and said she'd found them in the car park."

PASSIVE FUNCTION

NOT NORMALLY USED IN PASSIVE