PAST SIMPLE AND PAST CONTINUOUS
The past simple is used to describe:
- Actions or events in the past:
- I went to London last year.
- Actions or events which happened one after another:
- I visited the Prado Museum and later went to a cafeteria.
The past continuous is used to describe:
- Activities that were already happening at a momement in the past:
- While i was walking to college, i met a friend.
- Activities in which we don’t know the start or the fisnish:
- The music was playing and i was feeling happy.
The past simple and past continuousare often used to show that an action happened in the middle of an activity:
- We were watching tv when the phone rang.
We use used to, to describe things that happened regularly in the past but don’t happen now:
- I used to smoke but now i don’t.
- I didn’t use to exercise but now i do sports.
*Note: Used to, is only used in the past. When talking about things that happen regularly in the present, use the present simple with adverbs like usually, everyday, etc.: i usually drink wine with my lunch. He catches the same train every day.
Would+infinitive and used to+infinitive: used to talk about things which happened repeatedly in the past but do not happen now: when i was a small boy, my mother would read to me in bed. When she was reading to me my dad used to wah up the dishes.
Would and used to are both used for past habits. There is, however, a difference between the two.
Would describes repeated actions but not states, while used to can refer to both repeated actions and states
- On Sundays my parents would always take me to church.
- I used to hate going to church.
|I/you/he/she/we/they||had / ’d arrived homehad nothadn’t|
|had||i/you/he/she arrived home by six?we/they|
The main uses of the past perfect:
- To show that we are talking about something which happened before something that is described in the past simple: When we got to the station his train had already left. Compare this with: When he got to the station, his train left. This shows that the train left at the same time he arrived.
- It is often used withtime expressions like when, as soon as, by, after and before:
- She started driving before he had fastened his seatbelt.
- When the storm had ended, people started to come out of their houses.
- It is often used with the adverbs already, just and never:
- The theives had already escaped when the police arrived.
- He had never really eaten a good pizza until he went to Italy.
Past perfect continuous is used:
- To indicate that we are talking about something which happened before something which is described in the past simple, but it:
- Focuses on the length of time: Mandy wanted a walk because she had been sitting all day.
- Says how long something happened up to a point in the past:
- He had been playing for Arsenal for only two games when he scored his first goal.
Act on someone´s (advice) (vp) to do something because someone has said that you should.
Add insult to injury (vp) to make someone´s bad situation worese by doing something else to upset them.
Be in your element (pp) to be very happy because you are doing something you like to do and you are good at.
Be only natural to do something (adjp) to be normal or expected.
Be up to something (vp) to be doing something.
Believe wholeheartedly in something (vp) believe something completely, without any doubts.
Come round (v) to visit someone at their flat.
Drive someone mad (vp) to make someone feel extremely annoyed (informal).
Drop what you are doing (vp) to stop what you are doing, often in order to do something else.
Go to incredble lengths to do something (vp) to try extremely hard to achieve something.
Hold down a job (vp) to manage to keep a job.
Move on (v) to leave the place you are and go somewhere else.
Move out (v) to stop living in a particular home.
Nothing is too much trouble (idiom) doing everything you can to help even though it involves great effort.
Over the course of (a period of time) (pp) during.
Positive outlook (adj+n) thinking that generally good things will happen.
Process of trial and error (np) a way of learning the best way to do things using different methods.
Prolong something (v) to make something last longer.
Recount something (v) to tell a story or describe past events.
Refund (n) money returned to you because you are not happy with your purchase.
Regime (n) a system of government or control which is not usually approved by the people.
Run for parliament (vp) to compete in an election or to be one of an elected parliament.
Set foot in (aplace) (vp) to enter.
Splitting headache (adj+n) a very bad headache.
Well intentioned advice (adj+n) advice given in order to be helpful but that does not help in the situation.
Wind someone up (v) to annoy someone, often on purpose.