Thanks to everyone who took part in our QUESTION to find out what English verb tenses you find most difficult to use.
Almost 60% of you said that the hardest tenses to use were “past simple, present perfect and past perfect”, so this blog post is dedicated to those verb tenses. We will explain when to use each tense and how to differentiate them. If you have any questions, just ask and we will help you!
The past simple is used to express an action which started and finished at a specific time in the past. For example:
– We played violin for years when I was a child.
We also use it to list a series of actions that happened in the past, for example:
– She woke up, got dressed, caught the bus and went to school.
The present perfect we spoke about already, do you remember? If not, just read our Present Simple and Present Perfect post.
Just remember that the present perfect is used when an action happened at an unspecified time. For example:
– I have been to Lithuania.
The past perfect is used when we want to express an action that ocurred before another action in the past. Sounds difficult, right? Don’t worry, it’s easier than it seems. For example:
– I did not have any money because I had lost my wallet.
“Loosing my wallet” is an action that happened before “not having any money”.
Also, unlike the present perfect, we can use specific time words with the past perfect, for example:
– He had visited her friends in London once, in 2003, before she moved in with them two years later.
We hope you understand the tenses better now, but if you still have doubts or questions, just let us know!
So, let’s do a quick exercise to practice these verb tenses:
When I (come) ___a__ home last night, I discovered that Miles (prepare) ___b__ a delicious meal.
Since I began singing, I (perform) __c____ in five musicals and a TV sitcom. However, I (speak, never even) __d____ publicly before I came to Hollywood in 1985.
By the time I got to the office, the meeting (begin, already) __e___ without me. My boss (be) __f___ furious with me and I (be) __g___ fired.
When I (put) __h___ the radio on yesterday, I (hear) ___i__ a song that was a bit hit when I was 12. I (hear, not) __j___ the song in years, and it (bring) ___k__ back some great memories.
If you liked this exercise, check out EnglishPage.com, it’s a great website with information and exercises, so you never stop practicing!