Rob and Ashlie look at how to use the past simple and past perfect to speak about events in the past, and ‘about to’ for the near future.

Watch the video. Then go to the Tasks and do the activities.

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Language level

Intermediate: B1

Comments

Hello Sir,
Can you tell me which of these is correct
"I thought you were ill"
or
"I thought you had been ill"

Hello Adtyaggrwl,

Both are possible, but have slightly different meanings and would be used in different contexts. The first (with 'were') refers to the person's health in the present; the second (with 'had been') refers to the person's health in the past.

You can find more information about reported speech here and here.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Your clarification was useful, Sir. Thanks!

what is the difference between "you had murdered " and "you had been murdered"
thank you for your efforts

Hello hayaalqasem,

The first example is active voice and means that you killed someone. The second sentence is passive voice and means that someone killed you.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you very much. Please help me with the following. Do I say: "The witness testified that he had seen the murderer", or do I say "The witness testified that he saw the murderer?"

Hello Nicolene,

Both of those sentences are grammatically possible. One or the other might be preferable in certain contexts but the meaning is essentially the same.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you Peter!

I'd like to check why we say 'I thought we had decided that the first victim WAS shot' instead of 'I thought we had decided that the first victim HAD BEEN shot'. After all, the victim's being shot would clearly be the most "past" of the events. Thanks!

Hello gerry_james,

You could say 'had been shot' there as well. It's not always necessary to use the past perfect; if we don't want or need to emphasise the fact that something already happened, then the simple past can be used, just as in the sentence you ask about.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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