Interactive - Test yourself - past tenses. Choose the most likely tense to complete the following statements correctly. In most cases only one answer is possible; in some, two answers may be possible, but one of these is much more likely than the other. To learn how past tenses are used, see Past tenses grammar page. Grammar Exercises Here are all the English grammar exercises on the site so far. Irregular Verbs: Irregular Past Simple, Part 1; Irregular Past Simple, Part 2. When we want to indicate that something happened at a specific time in the past, we use the simple past tense. Also See: Simple Past Exercises Past Progressive Exercises Verb 'To Be' Past Tense Was or Were Exercises 1 Was or Were Exercises 2 Am Is Are Was or Were Exercises 1 Am Is Are Was or Were Exercises 2 Simple Past vs Present Perfect.
- Used To
- Used To Past Tense Exercises
- How To Solve Tenses Exercises
- How To Use Past Tenses
- Past Tense Used To Exercises Verbs
The simple past tense is used to describe a completed activity that happened in the past. In other words, it started in the past and ended in the past. This page has lots of examples of the simple past tense, explains how to form it, and has an interactive and printable exercise worksheet. Simple Past Tense Exercises A. Complete the sentences, put the verb into the correct form, positive or negative. (simple past tense) 1. It was warm, so I off my coat.
Past TenseThe past tense is a verb tense used for a past activity or a past state of being. For example:
- I jumped in the lake. (This is a past activity.)
- I was happy. (This is a past state of being.)
- past tense
Examples of the Types of Past TensesThe past tense is categorized further depending on whether the action was in progress or has been completed. The four past tenses are:
|The 4 Past Tenses||Examples||Uses|
|simple past tense||The simple past tense is used to describe a completed activity that started in the past and ended in the past.|
|past progressive tense||The past progressive tense is used to describe an ongoing activity in the past. Often, it is used to set the scene for another action.|
|past perfect tense||The past perfect tense is used to emphasize that an action was completed before another took place.|
|past perfect progressive||The past perfect progressive tense is used to show that an ongoing action in the past has ended.|
More about the Four Past Tenses
Used ToBelow are more examples of the four past tenses. There is also an infographic for each one showing how it is formed and used.
Simple Past TenseHere is an infographic summarizing the simple past tense.
Examples of the Simple Past Tense
- I played when I was younger.
- I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free. (Italian sculptor Michelangelo)
- Drawing on my fine command of the English language, I said nothing. (Actor and comedian Robert Benchley)
- Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do. (French writer Voltaire)
- I wanted to buy a candle holder, but the store didn't have one. So I got a cake. (Comedian Mitch Hedberg)
- I have never played a hero before so I jumped at the chance. (Actor Adrian Edmondson)
- My fake plants died because I did not pretend to water them.
Past Progressive TenseHere is an infographic summarizing the past progressive tense.
Examples of the Past Progressive Tense+
- I was playing for an hour.
- I was falling asleep when the phone rang.
- We were preparing a picnic, and then it started to rain.
- I feel like I sort of missed the eighties. At the time, we didn't know we were having fun, which is probably the way it always is. (Novelist Tama Janowitz)
- She was seeing a psychiatrist, two plumbers, and a bartender. (Comedian Rodney Dangerfield)
- I told my therapist I was having nightmares about nuclear explosions. He said don't worry it's not the end of the world. (Comedian Jay London)
- I have an idea that the phrase 'weaker sex' was coined by some woman to disarm the man she was preparing to overwhelm. (Poet Ogden Nash)
- I was having trouble making ends meet, and my beginnings weren't meeting either. (Author Allan Sherman)
Past Perfect TenseHere is an infographic summarizing the past perfect tense.
Examples of the Past Perfect Tense+
- I had played already.
- I had crossed the line. I was free, but there was no one to welcome me to the land of freedom. I was a stranger in a strange land. (Political activist Harriet Tubman)
- I had seen birth and death but had thought they were different. (Poet T S Eliot)
- There are so many things that we wish we had done yesterday, so few that we feel like doing today. (Journalist Mignon McLaughlin)
- I phoned my dad to tell him I had stopped smoking. He called me a quitter.
- When I was younger, I could remember anything, whether it had happened or not.
- If we had had more time for discussion we should probably have made a great many more mistakes. (Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky)
- What a wonderful life I've had! I only wish I'd realized it sooner. (Author Sidonie Gabrielle Colette)
- I had always seen myself as a star; I wanted to be a galaxy. (Dancer Twyla Tharp) (Note that adverbs (here, always can appear in the middle of the verb chain.)
Past Perfect Progressive TenseHere is an infographic summarizing the past perfect tense.
Used To Past Tense Exercises
Examples of the Past Perfect Progressive Tense+
- I had been playing since I was ten.
- I had been weeding my garden for weeks, but I just surrendered to the weeds in the end.
- The jury had been considering its verdict for several hours when the judge effectively ordered them to find Jones guilty.
- I was coming home from kindergarten. Well, they told me it was kindergarten. I found out later I had been working in a factory for ten years. (Comedian Ellen DeGeneres)
- I had been writing fiction since I was in eighth grade, because I loved it. (Author Thomas Perry)
- I thought that I was learning how to live, but I had been learning how to die. (Polymath Leonardo da Vinci)
- Even though I had been boxing for three years, I had no idea that I could beat somebody in the ring.
- Many people had been asking me to write an autobiography. I thought I'd better tell my story before other people told it for me. (Comedian Michael Palin)
- It was funny to read a script that was so similar to what had been going on in my life. (Actress Piper Perabo)
- I'd been shouting and shouting and no one wanted to hear me. (Singer Brenda Fassie)
Verb Tense WidgetUse this widget to learn about the different tenses. How do you use this widget? Well, if there's a button, a drop-down menu, or a , then you can click it!
Select the tenses.
Simple Present TenseThe simple present tense is mostly used to describe facts and habits. More..(opens new tab)I base formyou base formhe/she/it 3rd pers sing presentwe base formyou base formthey base formPresent Progressive TenseThe present progressive tense is used for an ongoing action in the present. More..(opens new tab)I am present participleyou are present participlehe/she/it is present participlewe are present participleyou are present participlethey are present participlePresent Perfect TenseThe present perfect tense is used for actions that began in the past. (Often, the actions continue into the present.) More..(opens new tab)I have past participleyou have past participlehe/she/it has past participlewe have past participleyou have past participlethey have past participlePresent Perfect Progressive TenseThe present perfect progressive tense is used for a continuous activity that began in the past and continues into the present, or a continuous activity that began in past but has now finished (usually very recently). More..(opens new tab)I have been present participleyou have been present participlehe/she/it has been present participlewe have been present participleyou have been present participlethey have been present participle
Simple PastThe simple past tense is used to describe a completed activity that happened in the past. More..(opens new tab)I past tenseyou past tensehe/she/it past tensewe past tenseyou past tensethey past tensePast Progressive TenseThe past progressive tense is used to describe an ongoing activity in the past. English learning through stories. Often, it is used to set the scene for another action. More..(opens new tab)I was present participleyou were present participlehe/she/it was present participlewe were present participleyou were present participlethey were present participlePast Perfect TenseThe past perfect tense is used to emphasize that an action was completed before another took place. More..(opens new tab)I had past participleyou had past participlehe/she/it had past participlewe had past participleyou had past participlethey had past participlePast Perfect Progressive TenseThe past perfect progressive tense is used to show that an ongoing action in the past has ended. More..(opens new tab)I had been present participleyou had been present participlehe/she/it had been present participlewe had been present participleyou had been present participlethey had been present participlePast continuous tense lesson plan.
Simple FutureThe simple future tense is used for an action that will occur in the future. More..(opens new tab)I will base formyou will base formhe/she/it will base formwe will base formyou will base formthey will base formFuture Progressive TenseThe future progressive tense is used for an ongoing action that will occur in the future. More..(opens new tab)I will be present participleyou will be present participlehe/she/it will be present participlewe will be present participleyou will be present participlethey will be present participleFuture Perfect TenseThe future perfect tense is used to describe an action that will have been completed at some point in the future. More..(opens new tab)I will have past participleyou will have past participlehe/she/it will have past participlewe will have past participleyou will have past participlethey will have past participleFuture Perfect Progressive TenseThe future perfect progressive tense is used for an ongoing action that will be completed at some specified time in the future. More..(opens new tab)I will have been present participleyou will have been present participlehe/she/it will have been present participlewe will have been present participleyou will have been present participlethey will have been present participle
How To Solve Tenses Exercises
Slider Showing All the TensesThe following slider shows all 12 tenses. All the past tenses are highlighted with a yellow background.
Interactive ExerciseHere are three randomly selected questions from a larger exercise, which can be edited, printed to create an exercise worksheet, or sent via email to friends or students.
How To Use Past Tenses
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