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

Language Construction has always been a minor hobby of mine. Now I would really like to put all the knowledge I have acquired to good use. I want my language to be consistent in its phonetics while maintaining exceptional grammatical freedom. The language isn't designed for beauty, but instead for simplicity, spoken ease and concise wording. It is made to tackle dyslexia.

for example...
English - By that time my friends had all but lost hope.
Braic - cera fón freneí evé ludec epra. (sera forn frenay ever loodess epra)
or...
English - The green gardens were laden with red roses.
Braic - ly véd edeneí latect en ru floreí. (liver dedenay latesten roo flo-ray.)
or...
English - life in pink.
Braic - laía ne pas. (lie-anep-ash.

Is it okay if I write "this photo was taken blurred"? Actually I want to understand that the photo wasn't clear.

Hello abc96,

'Blurred' is an adjective, not an adverb, and so should describe the photo itself, not the way in which it was taken. You can say 'The/This photo is (a bit/slightly) blurred', for example.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

But wouldn't that mean his sentence was still grammatically correct?

'The thief was caught stealing'. In this example "stealing" describes the thief, rather than the act of getting caught. Though it will be said, your advice is well put.

Hello D.Delicour,

The position of the word means that it can only be an adverb. 'Blurred' cannot function as an adverb, however. It could be an adjective if it preceded the noun ('The blurred photo...'), but then the sentence itself would be highly unnatural: all photos which exist have been taken and so a sentence announcing this fact would be very odd.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

you're right, that does make sense. Though, could it be said, that 'blurred', in this instance, was used, not to denote the past participle, but as a descriptor of its state or quality in being blurred?

Hello again,

That is possible and in that case it would be describing the photo rather than the act of taking it, meaning it would still have an adjectival role and would precede the noun.

The problem with the word order is clear if you replace the word 'blurred' with a different adjective such as 'clear' or 'precise'. Their function means they need to be positioned before the noun.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi :)

I have some confusion about the appropriate use of tenses in a specific context as folows:

Spring Festival is a very important festival because it tells us we need to forget all the things that HAVE HAPPENED / HAPPENED in the past ...

Which tense should be used, simple past tense, present perfect tense or both? Please tell me why.

Many thanks :)

Hello beckysyto,

You could use either 'have happened' or 'happened' here. The present perfect form more clearly includes everything that has happened up until this moment. The past simple form could also imply that, too, though. Although I don't know a lot about the Spring Festival, I'd probably just use the past simple form, since it's focusing more on making a separation between the past and the present (if I've understood it correctly).

I'd also refer you to a useful explanation of these two different tenses in the Cambridge Dictionary that you might find useful.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello pls help me these..
I read somewhere that if English is ur second language and ur thoughts are always in ur mother's tongue when expressing urself in English, it will always affect ur mastering of English. I belief this is wot confuses me most time in d appropriateness of present n past tenses in conversations like these..
" l don't just move here,l ve been here since last year " or " l didn't just move here l ve been here since last year " don't and didn't which is correct in conversation going on between two person now. And also
"That was why l didn't call u" or "that is why l didn't call u"
" l will tell u wot l told her n in response to d statement.. Which was or which is"
"This is why u left or this was why u left"
What are d correct uses in d sentences above
I will b glad sir if u can give me a simple way to master this. Thanks in anticipation
Thank u sir

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