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:

Tense Form
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.

and hypotheses:

It might be dangerous. Suppose they got lost.
I would always help someone who really needed help.

and wishes:

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.

Exercise

Section: 

Comments

hello teacher

please If My country is Egypt and I wane take about England

please what is the difference between

- I was living in England
-I lived in England
-I have lived in England
-I have been lived in England
-I have been living in England

Hello Moka 18,

We try to answer questions in the comments section where possible but the questions need to be concrete and precise; I'm afraid it's not possible for us to explain multiple verb forms in this way. It would require pages of explanation! However, we do have pages of explanation on these forms with examples and descriptons. You can find them in this grammar section. Your sentences are examples of (in order):

past continuous

past simple

present perfect

present perfect continuous

'I have been lived in England' is an incorrect sentence.

You can find information on each of these in the grammar sections here and here.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello could you please clarify these statements
1. My brother has twice as many books as I do
2. My brother has books twice as many as I do
Is no 2 wrong

Hello Rafael darn,

Yes, the second sentence is incorrect.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi sir,
I have a confusion in past perfect. As I learn before we use it
: For actions that happened before a past event
: In reported speech
: In conditional sentences.

For example: when I reached the station the train had gone.
This is the way I learn this tense bt i don't understand when we said: I had loved, I had worked is this correct pls explain

Hello faizkhan,

Like many verb forms, you need to know the context to make sense of them. 'I had love' and 'I had worked' are correctly formed past perfect verbs, but I'm afraid I can't tell you if they're used correctly without knowing the sentences that come before and after them.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

How can I find your reply to my comment?

Hello memol95,

Replies to comments appear directly below the original comment. Please remember that while we try to answer as many comments are possible, that does not mean that all comments receive replies! We are a small team here at LearnEnglish and it is not possible for us to reply to all comments and questions.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello all,
I am not sure that this sentences is could be past continuous or past perfect.

They watched TV from 7.30 until 9.00. I arrived at 7.30. When i arrived, they were watching TV.

My English is not good so hope you all can understand it.

Thank you

Hello Kaewnutwararat,

The three sentences you wrote make sense and are correct. In the first sentence, 'were watching' is also possible, depending on the wider context, but 'watched' is also correct in general.

Best regards,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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