Past tenses Plan

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Past tenses

Past tenses

  1. Past Tenses and When to Use Them

  2. Past simple:

  3. Past continuous:

  4. Past perfect:

Do you have difficulty with the past tenses in English? Do you know the difference between the past simple and past perfect? Knowing what they are and when to use them can be tricky, but don’t worry we are here to help you with all your past tense doubts!

We’ll show you when to use them and give you some fun ways to practise them at home!
So, let’s start by looking at the four main past tense forms in English and their most common uses.

1. Past Simple

The first past tense you’ll often learn in your English classes is the past simple.


For regular verbs we add -ed to the infinitive form of the verb. E.g.

Irregular verbs however, take a different form. There are hundreds of irregular verbs and you just have to learn them off by heart! Here are some of the most common:


The main use of the past simple is for finished actions in the past. For example:

  • was born in San Francisco.

  • cleaned my room.

  • forgot my key.

We can use it with a finished time phrase like in the sentences below:

  • Yesterday I went to the supermarket.

  • Last night we watched the football.

  • The phone rang five minutes ago.

Other common time expressions you can use are:
last month, last week, last summer, in 1997, when I was a child, a long time ago, on Monday, in February etc.
We also use the past simple for the main action when telling a story.
E.g. I woke up on my wedding day, I jumped out of bed and immediately called my brother. He didn’t pick up and so I began to worry.
Let’s see how much you’ve learned!

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