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    Learn English > English lessons and exercises > English test #117689: The different pasts, again!
    > Other English exercises on the same topics: | Past | Plu-perfect [Change theme]
    > Similar tests: - Past simple or present perfect - Past tenses - Past simple (video) - Modal : may/might - Past simple or continuous - Placement test 1 - Past perfect - Pluperfect
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    The different pasts, again!

    "The pasts, AGAIN!" ... why? Simply because you keep asking for exercises about them,  and need them...  and because learners tend to mix up all the tenses of the past.  Doing exercises is one of the only ways to make a difference between them and use them correctly. 

    Therefore, read the rules again and then, go for the exercise (certainly not the last one!) Good Luck! 


    I) The "SIMPLE PAST " (or «real past») = also called preterite.

      = BASE VERB + ed  for regular verbs 

      = 2nd column of irregular verbs.

    The simple past indicates that the action has no link at all with the present. It's the real past (distant past) that's used to tell a story; ("narrative past").

    The moment when the action was done is important and is marked implicitly, or very explicitly (by a time marker).

    - For Thanksgiving, we had the traditional turkey with the different vegetables.

    The PRETERITE insists on the moment when the action was done.

    - Adverbs used with the preterite: AGO- LAST ( week/ month/year) -WHEN- show that the action is really finished.



    = HAS/ HAVE + past participle 

    As it is said in the expression "present perfect", it's not only a tense of the past expressing the assessment of an action, or of a situation. It also expresses an action which started in the past and which is going on, or has a consequence in the present

    THE PRESENT PERFECT  insists on the consequences of an action on the subject's present: 

    - Look ! The turkey was so good that the guests  have eaten it all and that there'll be no leftovers this year !

    The adverbs used with the present perfect  express a link with the present:


    BEWARE!   In :pus there's a very strong trend to "avoid" using "present perfect" (or imperfect) and to prefer  preterite.

    On the contrary, in :pgb , the distinction between the two tenses and applying the rules is still systematically made, especially in formal conversations and in written English. In exams and competitive exams, unless required explicitly, be sure to use the rules of British English.  


    3)" IMMEDIATE PAST" indicates that an action has just taken place. The action is almost part of the present, but also belongs to a past which isn't "real" yet, because the subject is still feeling the consequences of this action. 

    It's built with the present perfect +just:   HAS/ HAVE + just + past participle 

    - I've just received an invitation for Thanksgiving next year... I'll have enough time to get ready! 

    Some adverbs may be used with THE PRETERITE or THE PRESENT PERFECT: 


     4) The "PAST PERFECT" :   Subject +  HAD + past participle (= Base verb +ed/ 3rd column of Irregular Verbs.)  

    - You hadn't imagined that Thanksgiving could be such a family gathering. 


    If two successive actions are happening in the past, the older one is expressed in the past perfect, whereas the recent one is in the preterite.

    - When you arrived for the party, we had already started eating the appetizers.

    The "past perfect immediate" :  HAD + PAST PARTICIPLE

    He had just opened the bottle when I arrived with the glasses.

    BEWARE: in French= "VENIR DE"+ Verb in the infinitive.  (   ... In that case, do NOT use  *« to come ».)

    - He had just poured French wine for me when I dropped the glass and made a mess. 

    5) Expressing TWO SIMULTANEOUS ACTIONS IN THE PAST= 2 past actions which have taken place at the same moment.

    Here, the distinction is NOT between two tenses, but between two aspects: a real past  (prétérit/past perfect) and a continuous aspect, in ing, built with BE (the auxiliary) was doing. 

    The short action (in the simple past) interrupts the long action (expressed in the preterite in –ing)

    - When you arrived for the meal, Mom was taking the turkey out of the oven.


    The test will deal with the theme of "Thanksgiving", mainly the first celebration of the event when we simply say "Thank You!"


    Be as BRAVE as the Pilgrims. I give you as much FORCE as they had.  


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    ' You know, Mom, we were told that the first Thanksgiving Day in 1621.

    The Plymouth Pilgrim community in a feast with local Native Americans to celebrate the first harvest that the colonists on American soil. ' ' Of course I know that, darling ! '

    ' But I’m sure you don’t remember that the Indians the Pilgrims how to fertilise the soil in order to grow corn... '
    ' Well! Tell me what they … ' 'Sure, Mom ! When they the corn, they a dead fish at the foot of each young plant! Clever, wasn’t it?' 'Yes, very! and that’s why the crops so good!'

    ' Another funny thing about Thanksgiving: since the 1870s, the President of the US two turkeys every year. Such lucky birds as Tot, Tatter, Marshmallow, Pilgrim etc. their lives in animal shelters, not roasted in people’s ovens! Funny, isn’t it ? '

    End of the free exercise to learn English: The different pasts, again!
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