1 Talking about past events and situations:

We use the past simple:

  • when we are talking about an event that happened at a particular time in the past

We arrived home before dark
The film started at seven thirty.

  • when we are talking about something that continued for some time in the past

Everybody worked hard through the winter.
We stayed with our friends in London.

When we are talking about something that happened several times in the past we use

  • the past simple:

Most evenings we stayed at home and watched DVDs.
Sometimes they went out for a meal.

  • … or used to

Most evenings we used to stay at home and watch DVDs.
We used to go for a swim every morning.

  • ... or would

Most evenings he would take the dog for a walk.
They would often visit friends in Europe.

WARNING: We do not normally use would with stative verbs.

We use the past continuous:

  • when we are talking about something which happened before and after a given time in the past

It was just after ten. I was watching the news on TV.
At half-time we were losing 1-0.

  • when we are talking about something happening before and after another action in the past:

He broke his leg when he was playing rugby.
She saw Jim as he was driving away.

2 The past in the past

When we are looking back from a point in the past to something earlier in the past we use the past perfect:

Helen suddenly remembered she had left her keys in the car.
When we had done all our shopping we caught the bus home.
They wanted to buy a new computer, but they hadn’t saved enough money.
They would have bought a new computer if they had saved enough money.

3 The past and the present:

We use the present perfect:

  • when we are talking about the effects in the present of something that happened in the past:

I can’t open the door. I’ve left my keys in the car.
Jenny has found a new job. She works in a supermarket now.

  • When we are talking about something that started in the past and still goes on:

We have lived here since 2007. (and we still live here)
I have been working at the university for over ten years.

4 The future in the past

When we talk about the future from a time in the past we use:

  • would as the past tense of will

He thought he would buy one the next day.
Everyone was excited. The party would be fun.

  • was/were going to

John was going to drive and Mary was going to follow on her bicycle.
It was Friday. We were going to set off the next day.

  • the past continuous:

It was September. Mary was starting school the next week.
We were very busy. The shop was opening in two weeks' time.

 

 

Exercise

Comments

Hello tagrapankaj,

In time clauses such as these we usually use the present simple, as in the first sentence. It is possible to use 'will' if the sentence is an offer or a promise in order to make the sentence more polite, but not in a sentence like your second example.

You can find more information on time clauses here.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

sometimes i get confuse between whether to user simple past or simple present
e.g suppose i go with my friend in the market and i like the watch there in that shop and i force my friend to buy that watch.. so what should i say..
I like this watch..
or
i liked this watch

plz help me out.. i always remain confuse in between them.

Hello tagrapankaj,

You can say either of these sentences.

'I like this watch' tells us that you like it now. Perhaps you liked it before or perhaps not, but you certainly like it now.

'I liked this watch' tells us that you liked it in the past. Perhaps you still like it now or perhaps not, but you certanly liked it then.

Which of the two sentences you use is up to you, and depends upon what you want to say.

I hope that clarifies it for you.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

i came here to but raincoat but i did't get it. so now i m just roaming around the mall.

my doubt is whether i should use didn't OR don't in the above sentence?

Hello,

What time are you talking about? That's right - you failed to buy the raincoat in the past, so you should use 'don't' here.

Best wishes,

Adam
The LearnEnglish Team

hi!
something confusing me about present perfect, i know that pp based on results but how come this sentence shows that the action still in progress? is it because of the word "since"?
-We have lived here since 2007. (and we still live here)

Hi Oscas Po,

As is explained above, we use the present perfect 'when we are talking about something that started in the past and still goes on'. That is the meaning of the sentence that you quote. since if often used with the present perfect, but by itself does not indicate the same idea, as it can be used with other verb tense that refer only to the past, e.g. 'He had lived there since he was a child'.

I think the idea that the 'pp is based on results' might confuse you more than help you, as it doesn't apply all the time - I'd recommend that you work on learning the different ways verb forms can be used to express different meanings.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks Kirk you cleared my confusion

3 chances are left.

3 chances are remaining.
Could u plz tell me difference between them.
which 1 should be used when if both have same meaning context wise.
I remain confuse in these sort of sentences.

Hello tagrapankaj,

There is no difference in meaning between the expression with 'left' and that with 'remaining', though there is a slight difference in use. 'remaining' is more commonly used in more formal contexts, and 'left' is more common after the verbs 'there is/are' and 'have got'.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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