There are two tenses in English – past and present.
The past tense in English is used:
- to talk about the past
- to talk about hypotheses – things that are imagined rather than true.
- for politeness.
There are four past tense forms in English:
|Past simple:||I worked|
|Past continuous:||I was working|
|Past perfect:||I had worked|
|Past perfect continuous:||I had been working|
We use these forms:
- to talk about the past:
He worked at McDonald’s. He had worked there since July..
He was working at McDonald’s. He had been working since July.
- to refer to the present or future in conditions:
He could get a new job if he really tried.
If Jack was playing they would probably win.
It might be dangerous. Suppose they got lost.
I would always help someone who really needed help.
I wish it wasn’t so cold.
- In conditions, hypotheses and wishes, if we want to talk about the past, we always use the past perfect:
I would have helped him if he had asked.
It was very dangerous, What if you had got lost?
I wish I hadn’t spent so much money last month.
- We can use the past forms to talk about the present in a few polite expressions:
Excuse me, I was wondering if this was the train for York.
I just hoped you would be able to help me.