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    Learn English > English lessons and exercises > English test #53911: Past tenses
    > Other English exercises on the same topic: | Past [Change theme]
    > Similar tests: - Past simple or present perfect - Past tenses - Past simple (video) - Modal: may/might - Past simple or past continuous - Placement test 1 - Adverbs and past tense - Choosing your past tense...
    > Double-click on words you don't understand

    Past tenses

     Past tenses


    The infinitivePresent participle
    Past participle
    To verb verb + ing

     verb+ d or ed

    Mind the irregular verbs

    To close ,To walkClosing, Walking Closed ,Walked
    To drinkDrinkingDrunk
    To takeTakingTaken

        The simple past

    Simple pastThe ruleExample

    He was/he drank/he went/he played

     Yesterday, last week, last month, last year, a month ago....

     verb+d or ed

    I visited New York City a month ago.


    He ate  chicken yesterday.



    James smoked for most of his life.

    (Maybe for 30 years)


    Did +  verb

    Did you find the answer?


     Did not (didn't)+ verb

        I didn't find the answer. 

    did not find the answer.   

    Short answer


    Did not (didn't)

    Yes, I did.

    No, I did not (didn't).

    Past Continuous (Progressive)The ruleExample
    he was playing/he was eating
    All night, all day, while,  yesterday..)
    Was / were verb+ing

    I was reading a novel yesterday evening.

    (I spent the whole evening reading)

    I was reading a novel, while he was playing.

    (At the same time) 


    They were living in Moscow.

    (Now, they live  in London)  


    We can use the past simple and the past continuous in the same sentence.

    I was reading a novel, when the phone rang.


    We were playing games, when she arrived.
    Past perfectThe ruleExample
    He had played/he had gone
    Had+past participle

     I had  finished my work by nine o’clock. 

    I had played games before I went to bed.

    (Two actions: one action before the other one )

    Past perfect continuous The ruleExample
    He had been playing
    He had been going
    Had+been+ present participle

    Really, I was very tired! I had been revising all evening.

    I had been waiting for James for thirty minutes when he finally arrived.

    (James arrived after thirty minutes ) 

    Exercise: Choose the right answer.

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    We  TV for two hours when my grandmother joined us.

    When I , the telephone rang.

    the National Museum one week ago.

    When I got to the bus station, the bus .

    After he  lunch, he went out to join his friends.

    Sarahwas singing while they .

    Anna as a teacher for ten years. She is now retired.

    In 2003, we  in France.

    Peter  video games all day.

    They  lunch when I arrived.

    End of the free exercise to learn English: Past tenses
    A free English exercise to learn English.
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