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    Learn English > English lessons and exercises > English test #109345: Choosing your past tense...
    > Other English exercises on the same topics: | Past | Plu-perfect | Present perfect [Change theme]
    > Similar tests: - Past simple or present perfect - Placement test 1 - Past simple (video) - Modal : may/might - Past simple or continuous - Present perfect - Past simple - Adverbs and past tense
    > Double-click on words you don't understand

    Choosing your past tense...

    1) THE  PRETERITE:  is used to express the completed past ( the action is over), and is also the tense of narration. You just have to add  - ed to the verb or to learn irregular verbs (!!!) in order to master it totally.  That's easy, isn't it! 

    ex : She closed the door, sat down, picked up the phone and dialed. 


    A) How to build it? 

    Affirmative Form : subject + has/have + past participle (= verb + ed  or 3rd column of the irregular verbs) 

    Interrogative Form: has/have + subject + past participle + ?

    Negative Form: subject hasn't/ haven't + past participle


    B) How to use it?

    This tense doesn't exist in many languages; that's why foreigners find it so difficult to use...

    - The action depicted has a relationship or a noticeable or an important effect in the present:

    ex : Look, one of the boys has broken the window pane with their ball!  ( there are pieces of glass on the floor.) 

    - It expresses the assessment of an action. The action is important, not the moment when it happened.

    ex : 'Have you read Oliver Twist? Of course, I have! 

     - It's often used with: already, ever/ never, just. 

    ex : I have never met such an aggressive person!.

     - This tense is often used with FOR ( duration), or SINCE (starting point) in order to show that the action is still  in progress in the present and has a duration, then the -ing form of the present perfect is used : subject + HAS/HAVE been + V + ing.

    ex : She's been learning Spanish for 6 years. She must be pretty good! 


    A) How to make it?  In the  same way as the present perfect, in the three forms, except that the auxiliary is HAD all along.

    =  subject + HAD + past participle.


    B) How to use it? 

    - It refers to an action which happened before a reference in the completed past

    ex : When she came back from school, she had already learnt her lessons.

    ex : The gate had been opened when he arrived home with his new car.

    - Thus, it's sometimes used to jumble up the chronological order (narrative past) in order to create flashbacks:

    ex : The new mother stopped singing because her baby had fallen asleep.


    - The past perfect can also be in the -ing form in order to insist on the duration of the action. 

    ex : He had been working there for 3 years when he decided to resign.



     There you are! Be careful, and your results should be excellent ! 

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    Making an important decision.

    When Zerrin saw the terrible pictures on TV, it her of the time when she was a student in Chicago.

    About ten years before, there a devastating earthquake in Turkey, her mother country, and the Turkish students money, and organized events on the campus to send help where .
    Concerning this new catastrophe, there, horror was patent and rescue when she the text from the NGO she was a member of!
    After a few minutes, trained as she was, she she'd answer the call and leave for that distant country to help and relieve the wounded. She of really committing to a cause for months now and thought it was time she the decision. She said to herself : ' too little, so far . (= up to now) We money, we food and clothes, but we our strength and energy yet... That wasn't enough, that was nothing !

    End of the free exercise to learn English: Choosing your past tense...
    A free English exercise to learn English.
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